United States v. Pulido-Ayala, No. 17-1371 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained from his vehicle after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges. In this case, a police drug dog instinctively lunged into defendant's vehicle and eventually found drugs in the car. The court held that, assuming for the sake of analysis that the dog's entry into the vehicle was a search under the Fourth Amendment, the search was justified by probable cause to believe that the car contained contraband. In this case, officers had no responsibility to close the car's door after defendant's companion opened it and voluntarily exited the car. The court explained that, insofar as the dog's ability to perceive the odor of drugs from outside the car was enhanced by the open door, the situation was created voluntarily by the passenger, and there was no unlawful search in leaving the door open.
Court Description: Colloton, Author, with Gruender, Circuit Judge, and Reade, District Judge] Criminal case - Criminal law. A drug dog's reaction while it was still outside of defendant's vehicle, together with defendant's suspicious reaction to a drug interdiction checkpoint, gave the police probable cause to search the car before the drug dog jumped into the car through an open door; officers had no responsibility to close the car's door after defendant's companion opened it and voluntarily exited the car.