Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides interesting Wisconsin case today, re curtilage
In USA v. Lonnie Whitaker (WD Wis.), a 10-page opinion, Judge Darrah (ND Ill., sitting by designation) writes:
Acting on information that drugs were being sold from a certain apartment in Madison, Wisconsin, law enforcement obtained the permission of the apartment property manager and brought a narcotics-detecting dog to the locked, shared hallway of the apartment building. The dog alerted to the presence of drugs at a near-by apartment door and then went to the targeted apartment where Whitaker was residing. After the officers obtained a search warrant, Whitaker was arrested and charged with drug and firearm crimes based on evidence found in the apartment. * * *See this April 13th post by Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, headed "Use of a drug-sniffing dog at an apartment door is a ‘search,’ 7th Circuit holds." It begins:
On appeal, Whitaker raises four issues. First, he argues the use of the dog was a search under the Fourth Amendment and Florida v. Jardines, 133 S. Ct. 1409 (2013). * * * For the reasons discussed below, we reverse the district court’s holding regarding the search. The remaining issues are therefore moot.
Courts are divided on whether a tenant who lives in an apartment building has Fourth Amendment rights in the common areas of the building. On Tuesday, the 7th Circuit handed down a new twist on the problem. The court held that although a tenant does not have Fourth Amendment rights in common areas generally, use of a drug-sniffing dog in the hallway at the tenant’s door is a “search.”
Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 12, 2016 05:14 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions