Litigation » Appeals Court Judge Puts Police K9 On Trial

Appeals Court Judge Puts Police K9 On Trial

July 30, 2015

The Seventh Circuit Appeals Court did not overturn a drug possession conviction because of a police dog’s poor track record, but its ruling did raise serious concerns about unwarranted searches. Lex, the police dog in the case, “is lucky the Canine Training Institute doesn’t calculate class rank,” the court wrote. “If it did, Lex would have been at the bottom.” Records show that in 93 percent of cases Lex indicates that drugs are present, and is wrong 40 percent of the time. “That’s not much better than a coin flip,” the court noted. The concern lies in cases where the police dog’s indication that drugs are present is the only reason for a suspect search. If dogs signal the presence of drugs in the vast majority of cases, it could give police a pretext to search anyone’s car.

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