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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. * * *

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.

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:
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