Thursday, February 03, 2005

Counter Measures

I have been following the Supreme Court case that says that dog sniffs are not illegal searches.

Richard Cowan. reports on this story.

He also reports that dogs do not actually alert to marijuana. They alert to something called caryophyllene oxide. Which is available from Sigma-Aldrich a supplier of fine organic chemicals.

A report Richard quotes says that this chemical is produced by oxidised hops and is an additive in cigarettes. Richard comments:

Finally, one may wonder how could a search take place after what Stevens called “a well-trained narcotics-detection dog” had alerted on the vehicle? Well, it seems that the dogs are often wrong. Unless the dog has a high degree of accuracy, the police might as well claim that a magic frog told them to search the vehicle. Expect to see many more challenges to the accuracy of the dogs.
In fact Justice Souter brought up this very point in his dissent which Richard quotes.

Souter says the decision in this case depends on the fact that the dogs are infallible. Thus only illegal goods would cause an alert. Well we already know this isn't true. So we have another Fourth Amemdment Drug War Exception built on sand.

So what else is new?


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