Re: Illinois v. Caballes

More people are taking notice of this ridiculous decision, about which I posted here.

Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason, writes,

Jacob Sullum - IMDb

In short, it is simply not true that a

 drug-sniffing dog ‘discloses only the presence or absence of narcotics.’ Even leaving aside the possibility of deliberate deception or honest error by police officers eager to turn a hunch into probable cause, the dogs themselves make mistakes, responding to subconscious cues from their handlers, alerting to food or residual odors of drugs that are no longer present, mistaking items associated with drugs for the drugs themselves, and so on.

Whatever the cause of a false alert, it exposes innocent people to the inconvenience and humiliation of drug searches they have done nothing to justify. Now that the Court has said police need no special reason to bring in the dogs, provided they are otherwise complying with the law, such searches will become more common, and they need not be limited to routine traffic stops.

Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy poses this question,

Can the police send a computer virus to your computer that searches your computer for obscene images, or images of child pornography, and then reports back to the police whether such images are on your computer — all without probable cause, or even any suspicion at all? The traditional answer would have been no: the police cannot enter your private property to search even for non-private stuff. But thanks to the increasing focus on the nature of the information rather than how the information is obtained, it’s no longer so clear.