Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 1409 (Mar. 26, 2013)

Using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner’s porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s reasoning was based on the theory that the officers engaged in a physical intrusion of a constitutionally protected area. Applying that principle, the Court held:

The officers were gathering information in an area belonging to [the defendant] and immediately surrounding his house—in the curtilage of the house, which we have held enjoys protection as part of the home itself. And they gathered that information by physically entering and occupying the area to engage in conduct not explicitly or implicitly permitted by the homeowner.

Slip Op. at pp. 3-4. In this way the majority did not decide the case on a reasonable expectation of privacy analysis; the concurring opinion came to the same conclusion on both property and reasonable expectation of privacy grounds.

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