Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Florida v. Jardines

Fourth Amend­ment search unsupported by probable cause: Police took a drug-sniffing dog to Jardines’ front porch, where the dog gave a positive alert for narcotics. Based on the alert, the officers ob­tained a warrant for a search, which revealed marijuana plants; Jardines was charged with trafficking in cannabis. The Supreme Court of Florida approved the trial court’s decision to suppress the evidence, holding that the officers had engaged in a Fourth Amend­ment search unsupported by probable cause; held: The investigation of Jardines’ home was a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Thus, 73 So. 3d 34 is affirmed.
When “the Government obtains information by physically in­truding” on persons, houses, papers, or effects, “a ‘search’ within the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment” has “undoubtedly oc­curred.” United States v. Jones, 565 U. S. ___, ___, n. 3; at the Fourth Amendment’s “very core” stands “the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreason­able governmental intrusion.” Silverman v. United States, 365 U. S. 505, 511. The area “immediately surrounding and associated with the home”—the curtilage—is “part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes.” Oliver v. United States, 466 U. S. 170, 180. The officers entered the curtilage here: the front porch is the classic exemplar of an area “to which the activity of home life extends.” Id., at 182, n. 12; a police officer not armed with a warrant may approach a home in hopes of speaking to its occupants, because that is “no more than any private citizen might do.” Kentucky v. King, 563 U. S. ___, ___ (U.S. S. Ct., 26.03.13, Florida v. Jardines, J. Scalia).

Quatrième Amendement de la Constitution fédérale, qui prévoit l'exigence de l'existence d'une "cause probable" justifiant la délivrance d'un warrant, soit une autorisation du juge de procéder à une perquisition (de la maison, de papiers, des effets d'une personne). En l'espèce, pour obtenir le warrant, la police avait fait, sans autorisation, renifler par un chien entraîné le porche d'une maison d'habitation. Le chien avait détecté des substances suspectes à l'intérieur. C'est sur ce fondement que le warrant avait été obtenu. A tort dit la Cour, dans la mesure où la police n'était pas autorisée à entrer sur le porche de la maison, du fait qu'il fait partie de la maison elle-même. De la sorte, aucune "probable cause" ne supporte le warrant. En conséquence, la preuve obtenue grâce au warrant, ici les plantes de marijuana, doit être supprimée du dossier pénal.

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