The Supreme Court issued its opinion in Florida v. Jardines today, holding that a dog sniff at the front door of a house where the police suspected drugs where being grown constitutes a search for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, with Justice Kagan (joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor) concurring. Justicie Alito dissented, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy and Breyer.The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari of State of Florida vs. Jardines on the single question of whether police officers conducted an illegal search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The Court decided that the search was illegal.
- Whenever police (the government) obtain information by physically intruding on persons, houses, papers or effects, ‘a search’ has occurred. (U.S. vs. Jones)
- At the core of the Fourth Amendment is the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. (Silverman vs. U. S.)
- The curtilage of a home – that is the area immediately surrounding and associated with the home – is part of the home itself for 4th Amendment purposes. (Oliver vs. U. S.)
- The police officer was not invited into the home. While the law provides that officers need not shield their eyes from anything they may see when they enter a home - anything in ‘plain visible sight’ can lead to probable cause (California v. Ciraolo), “no man can set his foot upon his neighbor’s close without his leave.” (Entick v. Carrington)
- Police may approach a home in hopes of speaking with the inhabitants, but the scope of the officer’s visit is limited to both a particular area as well as a specific purpose; there is no invitation to enter the curtilage simply to conduct a search. (Kentucky v. King)
- An expectation of privacy need not be tested. (Katz)
To read the full opinion, following this link: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-564_jifl.pdf