Decided by a nose? Court ponders drug dog's sniff

By CURT ANDERSON | January 3, 2012 | 11:20 AM EST

MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether a Florida police K-9's sniff outside the front door of a marijuana grow house violates the Constitution.

Florida's attorney general wants the justices to reverse a state Supreme Court ruling that the dog's sniff violates the sanctity of the home.

The nation's high court has previously said a home deserves special protection from law enforcement searches. Lawyers for Florida say a dog's nose is different because it detects only illegal activity that's not entitled to privacy.

The justices could decide later this month whether to take the case.

Law enforcement officials say a finding against the use of K-9s outside the home could jeopardize an essential police tool. But the state Supreme Court said police cannot cross that constitutional line.