A man in New Mexico was pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation. When officers said a K-9 unit sniffed drugs on the driver’s seat, the officers forced the man to undergo invasive medical procedures, including an anal exam.
It may sound nearly identical to David Eckert’s nightmarish story as reported by TheBlaze Tuesday, but this is an entirely different incident.
What’s interesting is that these two incidents involve the same drug dog, which apparently isn’t certified:
Leo’s certification to be a drug dog reportedly expired in April 2011. K-9s need yearly re-certification sources, and Leo is more than two years behind. But as Reason.com notes, that may not matter:
According to the Supreme Court, none of this necessarily disqualifies Leo as an informant reliable enough to obtain a warrant authorizing the sort of humiliating searches that Eckert and Young underwent. Last February the justices unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.
I’ve always thought of drug dogs as a scam. While I don’t doubt the ability of the dogs I doubt the way they’re handled. A drug dog signalling is used as evidence to perform a search. The problem is that an alert action is subjectively decided by the human handler. A drug dog’s handler could take his dog’s pacing back and forth as and alert and use it as evidence to perform a search. This really relegates drug dogs to the status of exploitable tool to get around pesky warrant requirements. But seeing that the drug dog hasn’t even been reevaluated in over two years really adds icing to this already rich cake.