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In January 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision on the use of drug detection dogs during a lawful traffic stop. In a 6-2 decision, the Court held that, "a dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment."
The above case revolved around Illinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette who stopped the respondent for speeding on an interstate highway. When Gillette radioed the police dispatcher to report the stop, a second trooper, Craig Graham, a member of the Illinois State Police Drug Interdiction team, overheard the transmission and immediately headed for the scene with his narcotics detection dog. When they arrived, the respondent's car was on the shoulder of the road and the respondent was in Gillett's vehicle. While Gillette was in the process of writing a warning ticket, Graham walked his dog around respondent's car. The dog alerted at the trunk and the officers performed a search and found a quantity of marijuana. The respondent was then arrested. The entire incident lasted less than 10 minutes.
At trial, the respondent was found guilty but appealed the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court on the basis that the "search" by the drug detection dog during a traffic stop violated his Constitutional rights. The Appellate Court affirmed the lower trial court decision however and the respondent then appealed to the Illinois State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court reversed the decision, concluding that, because the canine sniff was performed without any 'specific and articulable facts' to suggest drug activity, the use of the dog unjustifiably enlarged the scope of a routine traffic stop into a drug investigation.
The State Supreme Court decision was in turn appealed to the highest Court in the …