Florida High Court Reinstates Drug Conviction

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Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court is reinstating a conviction against a Panhandle man who had challenged the use of a drug-sniffing police dog in his case.

The high court was forced to readdress the case of Clayton Harris. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February police do not have to extensively document the work of drug-sniffing dogs to be able to use the results.

The Florida Supreme Court in 2011 threw out evidence turned up by Aldo, a drug-sniffing police dog used by the Liberty County sheriff.

Aldo was trained to detect methamphetamine and other drugs and alerted his officer to the scent of drugs during a 2006 traffic stop. A search of Harris' truck turned up the ingredients needed to create methamphetamine.

Harris served a two year prison sentence.

Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says police don't have to extensively document a drug-sniffing dog's reliability in the field to uphold its work in court.

The high court in a unanimous decision Tuesday overturned the Florida Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Aldo, a drug-sniffing police dog.

That lower court threw out drug evidence obtained against Clayton Harris during a 2006 traffic stop. Aldo alerted his officer to drugs used to make methamphetamine inside a truck. But two months later, Harris was stopped again, Aldo again alerted his officer to the presence of drugs but none was found.

The Florida court said in every case police have to bring records, including a log of performance in the field, to establish the dog's reliability in court. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

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