North Dakota Law Review


Megan Gordon

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Recent judicial opinions throughout the country have muddied the waters concerning the extent of privacy rights protected by the Fourth Amendment beyond the walls of an individual’s home. More specifically, courts have drawn a distinction between an apartment dweller’s privacy rights and the privacy rights of a homeowner concerning drug detection dogs. In Florida v. Jardines, the Supreme Court of the United States held the use of a drug detection dog on a front porch violates the homeowner's constitutional rights. In State v. Nguyen, the North Dakota Supreme Court followed the Eighth and other federal circuit courts to distinguish a common apartment building from a home. The Nguyen court held law enforcement officers' investigation using drug detection dogs in a secured common hallway was neither a trespass nor a violation of the expectation of privacy. This Note will discuss the history and extent of the Fourth Amendment’s protections, the history of the use of dogs in investigation, and the Fourth Amendment protections concerning drug detection dogs. In addition, this Note will argue that both homeowners and apartment dwellers should enjoy equal privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment.

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