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US court to hear case of Franky the drug dog
US Supreme Court to consider if drug dog's sniff at front door is unconstitutional search
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider whether a police dog's sniff outside a house being used to grow marijuana violates a suspect's constitutional rights.

Officers used the dog's reaction outside Joelis Jardines' Miami-area house to get a search warrant that led to the discovery of 179 marijuana plants growing inside.

The justices said they will review a Florida Supreme Court ruling that threw out the evidence seized in the search of the house. The Florida court said the work by Franky the drug dog was itself an unconstitutional search.

The Supreme Court has allowed drug dog sniffs in other cases involving airport luggage and routine traffic stops. But this case involves a home, which the court has repeatedly said is entitled to a higher degree of protection.

The case is being closely monitored by law enforcement agencies nationwide, which depend on dogs for a wide range of law enforcement duties. The Supreme Court police use dogs to sniff vehicles before they enter the court grounds and for other purposes.

Jardines, now 39, was arrested five years ago in a joint operation by Miami-Dade police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. An anonymous tip led officers to Jardines' house and Franky quickly detected the odor of pot at the base of the front door. The dog sat down as he was trained to do.

The 8-year-old Franky retired in June after a seven-year career in law enforcement.

Justices probably will hear argument in April and issue a decision by late June.

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