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The K9 industry is skyrocketing in America. What used to be done by man is now being done by dog. Dog's that cannot testify. We are relying way too much on K9's at airports. They are giving us false security (airports) and false "hits" (roadside drug investigations). What to do with dog-cops?

America is unique in that it has a remedy available to citizens when government employees abuse their power and discretion. It is called the "Exclusionary Rule". It permits judges to suppress or exclude the evidence obtained by the government's employee as punishment to the employee. This is how government employees learn where the natural line exists between our natural rights and the government's interests in what we are doing. We refer to this as the 4th Amendment.

Whenever I read of a big drug bust in Ohio, I jump to the part of the article that tells us the reason for the initial traffic stop (speeding, weaving, following too closely. I am always amazed how good police officers are at stopping otherwise innocent-looking vehicles only to subsequently find drugs hidden in false compartments that were expertly created to avoid detection by police. We are all on the same side in this drug battle – we want law enforcement to find illegal drugs and get them out of our communities. However, as a defense attorney, I can tell you that many times these drivers are actually innocent of any knowledge of what they are transporting. Also, as defense attorneys, we don't defend drug couriers and mules, we defend the 4th Amendment. For all of us. How does a routine traffic stop turn into an all-out assault on the driver, occupants, and vehicle on the side of a highway? I'm highly skeptical of these police tactics. Here's why:

America is unique in that it has a remedy available to citizens when government employees abuse their power and discretion. It is called the "Exclusionary Rule". It permits judges to suppress or exclude the evidence obtained by the government's employee as punishment to the employee. This is how government employees learn where the natural line exists between our natural rights and the government's interests in what we are doing. We refer to this as the 4th Amendment.

The first stop in this constitutional analysis is what we call "Unreasonably Prolonged Detention". Here is my checklist that I use in drug courier-K9 search cases.

a. Cops looking for drug couriers

b. Flimsy stops

c. Countless innocent drivers stopped is fishing without a clue

d. Where's the video and audio of the encounter?

e. Tactics officers use to prolong the stop

f. "Unusually Nervous, Hard Swallows, and Alleged Inconsistent Answers"

g. Questioning unrelated to the initial stop

h. Hollow Promises to "check on your license and let you go

i. Waiting on the dog

j. Dog tells the police officer "there's drugs in there"

k. Who trained this pup and where is he with those records?

l. Where is the K9's records of all police activities in which the dog is involved?

m. Does the handler have a clue what's going on?

n. Who ARE these dog trainers for police departments?

o. Has this dog ever been trained to search cars or just buildings?

p. Has this dog ever been trained to search for the odor of cocaine?

q. Does the handler believe the dog is 100% accurate?

r. How many minutes can an officer keep a motorist on the side of the road without discovering real criminal activity?

There are 18 tiny, but very important points, from the time the officer approaches the vehicle to the time the dog "hits". A good defense attorney will splice this stop and investigation up into these pocket sized issues for the judge to consider all the factors. This is a challenge because the government does an excellent job training its employees on how to testify at court to make unconstitutional searches sound constitutional.

Part II will cover the actual K9 search and the "backstory" of this interesting legal-canine industry.