1 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 845 (2005)
Canine Sniffs: The Search That Isn't

handle is hein.journals/nyujlawlb1 and id is 901 raw text is: NYU JOURNAL OF
LAW & LIBERTY
CANINE SNIFFS: THE SEARCH THAT ISN'T
Ken Lammers*
Q: Do you keep records as to the effectiveness of your dog?
A: Yes, sir, I do.
Q: Do you know how often your dog gives false positives?
A: He doesn't give any false positives. We're just unable to verify the alerts
at that time.'
I practice criminal defense in a jurisdiction where the local drug interdic-
tion unit uses drug-sniffing dogs extensively. Generally, one officer performs a bla-
tant pretext stop, such as pulling someone over for having an air freshener hanging
from the rear view mirror.2 Sometimes the police operate as a team and pre-
position the dog in anticipation of the stop. Sometimes the officer with the dog op-
erates in a particular area and responds to nearby stops. In either case, the officers
run the dog past both the stopped vehicle and its occupants.
The quotation above is taken from a case in which the police made a le-
gitimate automobile stop, suspecting a DUI when the driver of the truck swerved
out of her lane. Although the police quickly realized the driver was sober, they took
advantage of the stop to look for drugs. One officer took her driver's license and
checked her driving record. Another officer just happened to have a police dog
with her, and ran it past the truck, driver, and passenger.
The dog did not indicate the presence of drugs in the vehicle, and reacted
to the driver in a manner that the officer interpreted as a response to menstruation.
Although the dog gave a definite indication of drug presence on the passenger, the
passenger did not have any drugs on his person. Based on this false alert, the police
J.D., Washington & Lee Law School 1999. Editor, CrimLaw, http://crimlaw.blogspot.com.
I Transcript of Record at 7-8, Commonwealth v. Fens, No. CR03F01831-01 (Chesterfield Cir. Ct. Jan 06,
2004).
2 See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Bryant, No. 0076-04-1 (Va. App. June 15, 2004).

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