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Search & Seizure – Applicability of Exclusionary Rule – Dog Sniff, Wisconsin Constitution

State v. Ramon Lopez Arias, 2008 WI 84, on Certification
For Arias: Lora B. Cerone, SPD, Madison

Issue/Holding: A dog sniff is no more a “search” under the Wisconsin than the U.S. Constitution, at least with respect to vehicles:

¶22      We are unwilling to undertake such a departure here. First, we note that there is no constitutionally protected interest in possessing contraband under the United States Constitution, United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 123 (1984), nor is there a constitutionally protected interest in possessing contraband under the Wisconsin Constitution. Moreover, the occupant of a vehicle has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the air space surrounding a vehicle that he is occupying in a public place. State v. Garcia, 195 Wis.  2d 68, 74-75, 535 N.W.2d 124 (Ct. App. 1995).

¶23      Second, a dog sniff is much less intrusive than activities that have been held to be searches. Place, 462 U.S. at 707. When a dog sniffs around the perimeter of a vehicle, the occupant of the vehicle is not subjected to the embarrassing disclosure or inconvenience that a search often entails. Id. The dog sniff reveals only the presence or absence of narcotics, a contraband item. Id. Indeed, a dog sniff is unique as a means of detection because, as the Supreme Court has observed, a dog sniff gives limited information that is relevant only to contraband for which there is no constitutional protection. Id.


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