Criminal Defense Attorney Neil Rockind, of Neil Rockind, P.C., the criminal defense trial firm in Southfield, Michigan pays attention to recent court opinions. While the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has protected citizens from some pretty unfavorable and wrongly decided Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court cases in the past, it issued an opinion recently in a case out of Tennessee that is disappointing. In United States v Sharpe, the Court of Appeals upheld a canine search of a car when the canine jumped into the interior of the car and sniffed the interior. In the past, exterior canine sniffs have been upheld by the Supreme Court — the reasoning being that they are sniffing from “outside” of the protected place. Here, in Sharpe, the dog entered into the car, a place the police could not have gone. The 6th Circuit’s inexplicable reasoning? “It was instinctive and not the produce of police misconduct.” Neil Rockind believes that this opinion ignores the plain language of the 4th Amendment. The dog, working for and with a police officer, entered into a protected place without a warrant. “Whether it was instinctive is irrelevant, ” Rockind said. “This ruling opens the door for police officers to be lax in their control of their canines and encourages them to let their dogs roam freely,” Rockind opined.
The opinion can be found here: