#300 Supreme Court Gives Drug Dogs Free Rein

Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2005
Subject: #300 Supreme Court Gives Drug Dogs Free Rein


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #300 – Tuesday, 1 Feb 2005

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their ruling
in Illinois v Caballes. Roy Caballes was arrested on charges of
marijuana possession after a search of his vehicle which was initiated
by the ‘positive’ alert of a drug dog who had circled his car and
sniffed for illegal drugs. As Caballes was at the time involved in a
routine traffic stop, he contended that the use of the dog was an
unreasonable search of his person and vehicle. In 2003, the Illinois
Supreme Court agreed with him and ruled the search

However, on Jan 24 this year, the SCOTUS overruled with a 6-2 vote.
Their ruling means that in making a routine traffic stop, the police
can permit a trained dog to sniff the car for drugs without the need
for any particular reason to suspect the driver of a narcotics violation.

This has produced two responses in the newspaper coverage of the past
week. The first is a host of editorial boards criticizing and
denouncing the reasoning applied by the majority judges. The second
is a number of police agencies making public comments in support of
the ruling.

Please consider writing a Letter to the Editor to the newspapers
listed below. Consider expressing your agreement with those
newspapers who have spoken out against the rationale for the ruling.
Also consider expressing your disagreement with those police agencies
and other law enforcement officials who applaud the ruling.

Nothing in the past 35 years has eroded more basic personal privacy
and civil liberties than drug-war induced court rulings like this one.
Adding our voices to the already published opinions and commentary
help deliver a message that an increasing number of Americans are fed
up with the damage drug-prohibition policies are doing to our freedom
and to our communities.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


The ruling by the SCOTUS can be seen here: The 27 page decision is on
line here http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-923.pdf
(PDF Reader required)

An initial news report of the SCOTUS ruling ran in the NY Times on Jan
25. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n140/a08.html

EDITORIALS commenting on the ruling include

Tribune Review, Pittsburgh PA http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n160/a07.html

Burlington Times-News (NC) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n187/a03.html

The Payson Roundup (AZ) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n160/a06.html

Kansas City Star (MO) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n150/a11.html

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (WI) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n150/a08.html

NEWS ARTICLES reporting police applause for the ruling

Macon Telegraph (GA) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n148/a10.html

Arizona Republic (AZ) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n162/a01.html

Marion Daily Republican (IL) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n177/a08.html

Peoria Journal-Star (IL) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n174/a05.html

Please Check This Link for Additional News Clipping Targets for Your
Letters http://www.mapinc.org/topics/Caballes


Did you know that MAP offers free online and personal training on how
to write Letters to the Editor that get printed?

Please visit http://www.mapinc.org/resource/maf.htm and contact Steve
Heath, our Media Activism Facilitator.

Additional suggestions for writing letters to the editor can be seen
at the same link by clicking LTE Writers’ Resources.



Please post a copy of your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list (sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to heath@mapinc.org if you are not
subscribed. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list so others
can learn from your efforts.

Subscribing to the Sent LTE list (sentlte@mapinc.org) will help you to
review other sent LTEs and perhaps come up with new ideas or
approaches as well as keeping others aware of your important writing

To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see



Prepared by: Stephen Heath, MAP Media Activism Facilitator