On June 10, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided State v. Dunbar. The unanimous decision overturned state precedent requiring reasonable suspicion of contraband before police can deploy a canine sniff. Suspicionless canine sniffs are now permitted in New Jersey, so long as they do not prolong an otherwise lawful seizure.
Since 1975, The New Jersey Supreme Court had consistently interpreted our State Constitution to provide greater search-and-seizure protections than the federal Fourth Amendment. Given these greater protections and the U.S. Supreme Court’s two-justice dissent against suspicionless sniffs in Illinois v. Caballes, 53 U.S. 405 (2005), it was reasonable to expect at least one dissent in Dunbar. In the absence of dissent, this article considers the rationale for one.
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