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Federal appeals court: Drug dog that’s barely more accurate than a coin flip is good enough

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posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 02:08 PM
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Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.



U.S. v. Bentley is just the latest in a series of rulings in which the federal courts refuse to consider the possibility that police departments may be manipulating the dogs to authorize unlawful searches — or at the very least that police agencies aren’t ensuring that the dogs are being trained to minimize the possibility, even though that would be easy to do.


Imagine driving down the road minding your own when you're pulled over. During the stop, for whatever reason the officer decides he/she suspects you of possessing drugs. We've seen this scenario play out many times and even when drugs are not found there is a real chance you become the victim of civil forfeiture. But they're trained professionals, right?


Lex, the drug dog that searched Bentley’s car, had a 93 percent alert rate. That is, when Lex was called to search a car, he alerted 93 percent of the time.


His success rate was much lower, at 59 percent. That is, the police actually found drugs just six of the 10 times Lex told them they would. That means that four of every 10 people Lex alerted to were subjected to a thorough roadside search that produced nothing illegal.


How is that possible? How do we get an officer to make an incorrect assumption followed by a drug sniffing dog giving a false hit? As far as this dog goes.


Even a dog that was well trained initially can be conditioned to pick up bad habits once it’s in the field. This is exactly what was happening with Lex. It turns out that Lex’s handler gives the dog a reward every time he alerts, regardless of whether that alert is accurate. Lex isn’t getting rewarded for filtering innocent motorists from guilty ones. He’s being trained to authorize a search, each and every time he’s called to duty.


That's right, this dog gets a reward even when it's wrong. Sounds like it's being trained to be a probable cause dog rather than a drug sniffing dog doesn't it?

Full disclosure:

In Bentley, it turns out that the dog was correct. The suspect was found to be transporting a large supply of coc aine.


The fact that the case that brought about this appeal was one in which the dog was correct is inconsequential to me. What's more alarming is that there are far too many false positives and the courts don't seem to mind. And this dog isn't the only one.


the Seventh Circuit found no problem with a drug dog whose accuracy rate was 62 percent.

the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit gave its okay to a dog with a success rate of 43 percent, or less accurate than a coin flip.


What does the Supreme Court think about any of this?


In 2013, the Supreme Court made things worse in Florida v. Harris. In that case, the court unanimously ruled that mere certification of a drug dog was enough to establish a presumption that a drug dog is reliable, regardless of the reputation of the certifying organization, regardless of whether that organization understands and appreciates the importance of training dogs to ignore their handlers’ suspicions, and regardless of the dog’s performance in the real world.


And that ruling was used to help with the ruling in this case U.S. v. Bentley.

Following the Supreme Court’s prescription in Harris, the opinion notes that that the dog had passed tests in “controlled settings” and cited testimony about the dog’s reliability. But that testimony came from the dog’s handler. And there’s no further explanation of what those tests in controlled settings meant.


There is plenty more at the source and it's all equally alarming. So remember, the next time you're out for a drive and you get pulled over, a mere flip of a coin and you could lose everything.

SOURCE




posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 02:47 PM
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a reply to: FraggleRock

Well hell I could be a drug sniffing dog and be right just as often as real drug sniffing dogs..

If they are only right half the time whats the point?



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: alienjuggalo

more convictions, and therefore more funding and also more $ coming into the system (prison industrial complex, corporate contracts, fines + fees, etc. etc.)



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 02:53 PM
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a reply to: alienjuggalo

Public safety of course, sometimes the drugs are loaded irregularly into vehicles which causes their center of gravity to be offset and could cause a car crash. It's really just common sense.

Plus, you can't have people just driving to their intended locations without being subjected to highway robbery, that wouldn't be fair to former victims.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 03:25 PM
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The problem i've found with this one is,

In their mind, they never cared about your rights and only act like they take them seriously so that they do not get in trouble themselves. It is like operating under a set of rules or systems, but the entire time, if you didn't have to deal with all of the extra hoopla, you'd just do what you want to, and that's bust people. You must understand the psychology of a police officer, let's not even get into the higher up detectives and intelligence officers. Something drives them to do what they do, it makes them feel good, and the world ends up supposedly a better place.

So in their mind, who cares if the dog isn't accurate and they searched your car and found nothing?

The next car might have something.

Insulting? yes. Violating? yes. Unfair? yes.

Do you have a better system to introduce to fix these ills of society?

Jesus tried and failed, obviously. Oh snap.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 03:43 PM
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originally posted by: r0xor

Do you have a better system to introduce to fix these ills of society?



How about armed roving gangs performing citizens arrests on cops, judges, prosecutors, and their families. Maybe the laws will be changed after a few cops are killed for resisting arrest, or judges have their cars seized, or their family members are left paralyzed because they forgot to use their turn signals or they "fit the description."

Just remember to vote. Can't be on a jury if you don't vote.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 03:47 PM
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a reply to: FraggleRock

I still don't get how they can have these dogs at border checkpoints just sniffing every car in the line.

Especially with stats like this.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 07:42 PM
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To somewhat attempt and hopefully not butcher a friend of mine:

"If I ever defend a client in a drug dog case in my future law career, I want to serve the dog a subpoena and make it take the witness stand, so I can ask it questions about how effective its nose really is. If he barks back, I'll just say, "nothing further your honor," and throw it a dog treat."

They actually swear in police dogs using a Bible..



The officers literally tell the dog where to "hit" your car at, it's happened to me, no drugs found.

But every time the officer would say "Here," or "Hit," the K-9 would hit his paws near the officer. I asked the officer about it, and he assured me: "One paw means yes, two means no. They're smart and good officers, smarter then we are sometimes."

Said the man relying on his pup's paw preference.

I'm sure the cop isn't a dumb man, but I will never forget the sweet irony in that statement.

Cop logic.

It's a fun territory, where up is down, and down is up. Wrong is right, and right is wrong.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 09:31 PM
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Can I request a "best 2 out of 3" dog "coin flips"?



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 09:37 PM
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Cocaine residue is found on 90% of all US currency. Better hope you have no cash on you... Safer to use electronic means of payment, so they can track your spending... otherwise, pay the consequences of having their dogs indicate a "hit" on your vehicle.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 09:55 PM
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Guys, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and all that other stuff doesnt matter in this case, because drugs are The number one problem facing our nation, because owners of privatized prisons need to be filled to the brim with non violent offenders in order to make a mind boggling profit. So, as you can see, its totally worth it to give up all of our rights so a few people can become exceedingly wealthy.

I mean, we all know drugs are bad. But what you might not know is that they are worse than rape, murder, terrorism, and anything else you can think of. They have to be, otherwise, they would spend more resources capturing all those violent criminals instead of spending the bulk of it on fighting the war on drugs.

Haven't you ever seen that reality show "the first 48"? For a murder case, they put 2 detectives on it. Now watch a show about busting drug dealers. They have a whole swat team, with unmarked cars at every exit route, and paid informants, tons of expensive gear, etc, just for one drug dealer. It's obvious which one is the greater threat to the community.

Catching rapists and murderers is not very profitable... no cars, houses, cash etc to confiscate.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 10:02 PM
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originally posted by: VictorVonDoom

originally posted by: r0xor

Do you have a better system to introduce to fix these ills of society?



How about armed roving gangs performing citizens arrests on cops, judges, prosecutors, and their families. Maybe the laws will be changed after a few cops are killed for resisting arrest, or judges have their cars seized, or their family members are left paralyzed because they forgot to use their turn signals or they "fit the description."

Just remember to vote. Can't be on a jury if you don't vote.


This exactly what needs to but never will happen. We the people are fat, lazy and complacent. Big screen HD T.V.'S and SUV's keep us happy.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 10:11 PM
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Odd that they call these dogs police officers, and they are legally officers. Fact is none of them volunteered, they are all enslaved into being an "officer". Involuntary servitude right at the get go. They really have no say in what governmental agencies make them do. All they do is Pavlov along notwithstanding the criteria that they must serve their human masters or figuratively or metaphorically feel the lash. Poor doggies.



posted on Aug, 7 2015 @ 11:50 PM
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originally posted by: Aleister
Odd that they call these dogs police officers, and they are legally officers. Fact is none of them volunteered, they are all enslaved into being an "officer". Involuntary servitude right at the get go. They really have no say in what governmental agencies make them do. All they do is Pavlov along notwithstanding the criteria that they must serve their human masters or figuratively or metaphorically feel the lash. Poor doggies.


#policeslavedoglivesmatter




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