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Drug-detecting dogs have long been permitted under the law to sniff around the outside of a car without any warrant, and a federal appeals court has now extended that rule by holding that evidence was properly seized when a dog jumped into an open car on its own instincts.

In United States v. Pierce, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. of the District of Delaware that denied Jimmy Lee Pierce’s motion to suppress a kilogram of cocaine and $20,000 in cash found in his glove compartment. Pierce was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he entered a conditional guilty plea in which he reserved the right to appeal the constitutionality of the search.

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