[UPDATED POST – Scroll to the bottom for very useful commentary by Chris Zachar. Many thanks to him for sharing his knowledge.]
The headline tells you the only legal proposition you need to take from this soon-to-be-published case: under Daubert, evidence that trained dogs indicated the defendant had been at a particular location, and also that there had once been human remains in other locations, is not subject to a per se rule requiring corroboration before it can be admitted at trial. In a given case, a circuit court could conclude that particular dog-sniff evidence is not sufficiently reliable to come in (with or without corroboration). But Bucki’s argument–that dog-sniff evidence is so inherently unreliable that it necessarily requires corroboration–is rejected. We read the 50-page opinion, so you don’t have to.
The rest of the discussion (which also addresses related IAC claims, also rejected) could be useful in that it’s a lengthy, thorough analysis of Daubert methodology. Certainly if you have a case involving dogs that track people or sniff for evidence of cadavers or drugs, you’ll want to give it a look, both because it collects cases and because it discusses the claimed abilities of cadaver and tracking dogs at some length.
The fact-intensive nature of the opinion makes it tough to summarize. But the claimed abilities of these dogs are otherworldly: correctly identifying spots where a human body lay days, weeks, or many centuries ago. Maybe it’s real? We’ve looked for debunking articles in preparing this post but haven’t found any. Comments on that point are welcome.