An Idaho man’s conviction for drug possession was vacated because a police drug-sniffing dog puts its paws on his vehicle.
The state’s Supreme Court ruled that officers carried out an illegal search of Kirby Dorff’s car in 2019 as a result of the dog’s actions, according to The Idaho Statesman.
Mr Dorff was reportedly stopped by a police officer in Mountain Home for not using his turn signals as he drove, and a second officer then arrived on the scene with a drug-sniffing K9 called Nero.
Officers searched his car after saying the dog was “alerting” them to the presence of drugs and found a substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine.
They then searched his motel room where they found 19 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Mr Dorff was charged with felony delivery and possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanour drug paraphernalia possession, according to the newspaper.
He argued that the charges were brought despite the dog trespassing on his vehicle and his lawyer submitted a motion to suppress the evidence, which was denied by an Ada County District Court judge.
Mr Dorff pleaded guilty on the condition that he could appeal the denial of his motion to suppress evidence.
And in June 2020 he appealed the case to the Idaho Supreme Court.
The court issued its decision on Monday with three of the five justices in agreement and two dissenting.
The justices in the majority wrote in their decision that the outside of the car was covered by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects against unlawful searches.
With the conviction vacated the case now goes back to a district court where it will continue with the motion to suppress in place.