The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on the issue of search and seizure by police canines. A woman sued the San Diego Police Department after she was the victim of a “bite and hold” attack by a police canine.
Search and seizure by dogs called into question
The woman argued that the “bite and hold” tactic employed by police dogs constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure. Because a dog is trained to “bite and hold” the first person it encounters, the woman argued that the search was unreasonably broad because the first person the dog encounters may not be involved in a crime, but the dog cannot determine that and cannot be trained to distinguish potentially innocent persons from potentially suspect ones. The Court agreed with the woman and reinstated a lawsuit that had been dismissed in the matter.
Los Angeles attorney Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience exclusively in criminal defense and can assist in your search and seizure case. Many cases hinge on the actions of law enforcement agents and whether they have followed the proper investigative procedures.
The Courts have spent a great deal of time considering the issue of what constitutes a legal search. Not surprisingly, the Constitutional requirement of the “reasonableness” of a particular search raises many questions about search techniques in general. The police use trained animals that are naturally predatory, so the Court wants to ensure that an officer’s use of an animal meets the Constitutional requirement of reasonableness
If you’ve been the subject of a police animal’s seizure, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you raise issues about the reasonableness of the use of that animal as it relates to the issue of search and seizure. Don’t make the assumption that just because an animal is trained and “deputized,” the police have the automatic right to unleash that animal to conduct indiscriminate searches and seizures.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County Search and Seizure case.
Photo Credit: Joe Zlomek, via FreeImages.com