Watching The Fourth Amendment Go To The Dogs

Watching The Fourth Amendment Go To The Dogs

In today’s day and age the police (especially in Indiana) have almost unmitigated power to search and arrest whomever they want. Probable cause hearings have disappeared from the legal landscape in Indiana, cops can search people (Terry v. Ohio) on the ridiculously low standard of reasonable suspicion, the screening process in the Marion County Prosecutor’s office does very little in the way of actual screening, and statutes like 1983 that provided remedies for police mistakes have been rendered economically unattractive to progressive lawyers.

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Florida v. Harris (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-19/politics/37171249_1_oral-arguments-search-warrant-appeals-court) allows the police even wider latitude for warrantless searches. Practically speaking in a nutshell if a cop has a dog with them when they pull you over they can search your car- almost regardless of the dog’s performance records in past searches. If a dog has been trained the court is saying that is enough to demonstrate reliability.

Currently the Marion County Sheriff office have their dogs walk up and down Washington Street sniffing cars parked in public parking spots- this is apparently now entirely legal.