from the research i've been doing. i've seen multiple cases where an "alert" of a qualified k9 is sufficient to provide probable cause to search a vehicle and luggage which are covered under the vehicle exception for a search warrant. but if a package is sealed, locked or wrapped to conceal the identity of what is being store within it requires a warrant. if a dog alerts on a suitcase being carried in an airport its subject to search. yet that same suit case being carried in a car would not be allowed to be searched because its not covered under the exception. so would a bag or container withing a suitcase also not fall under the same rules as the suitcase withing the car? the supreme court seems to be all over the place on this issue.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The case would be very fact sensitive. As you have said different courts have made different rulings. There is no way to state based on the facts presented which way a court would decide. Good luck.
I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.
Federal Crime Lawyer
The very simple answer is as follows, though there may be other factors at play.
If probable cause justifies the search of a vehicle, it justifies the search of every part of the vehicle and its contents or containers that may conceal the object of the search. Where officers have probable cause only with respect to a container in a vehicle, they may search the container, but not the entire vehicle.
The exposure of an item located in a public place to a trained canine for a "canine sniff" does not constitute a search or a seizure, provided that the dog is properly trained and is lawfully present at the site of the sniff. This is so because a canine sniff does not expose noncontraband items to view and discloses no information other than the presence or absence of drugs, and because a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in the odors emanating from his or her belongings in a public place. Neither probable cause nor reasonable suspicion is necessary.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
I've seen cases go both ways on this. They are very fact specific. I hope your lawyer is working as hard as you are on this.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.