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Drug-Sniffing Dog Wins Supreme Court Case

The high court rules in favor of a dog whose sniffing mistake resulted in a meth bust.

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Aldo went above and beyond his job
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By Bryan Le

02/19/13

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If a dog sniffs out drugs, it can result in arrest for possession—but what if the dog is mistaken, and instead finds the raw ingredients for meth which aren't, technically, drugs? This was the case heard by the Supreme Court, today, who ruled unanimously in favor of a Florida cop's use of a drug-detection dog, who did a little work outside of his job description during a routine traffic stop. The officer, William Wheetley, had pulled over a nervous driver who had an open beer when Aldo, a retired drug detection dog, alerted him to the presence of drugs. "The record in this case amply supported the trial court's determination that Aldo's alert gave Wheetley probable cause to search the truck," wrote Justice Elena Kagan. The search did not turn up any drugs—revealing the dog's mistake—but Wheetley did find the raw ingredients for manufacturing meth (which can not be sniffed), and arrested the driver. Florida's Supreme Court demanded Aldo's hit/miss record to be released to determine whether the search was warranted, but the US Supreme court overturned this ruling, with Justice Kagan writing that the search was justified given "the totality of the circumstances." Aldo was not present at the hearing.

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