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Illinois Supreme Court Decision Impacts the Use of Canines

10/23/2018 11:32:00 AM

Recent Illinois Supreme Court case handed down last week, impacts the use of K-9s. 


Law Enforcement is now required to obtain a search warrant before they can use a narcotics dog in the common areas of apartment complexes. Agencies should confer with their prosecutor's offices for more direction.




This appeal presents a search and seizure issue involving application of this court’s recent opinion in People v. Burns, 2016 IL 118973. Burns, relying on Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. 1 (2013), held that the warrantless use of a drug-detection dog at a defendant’s apartment door, located within a locked apartment building, violated a defendant’s rights under the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., amend. IV.

In this case, the circuit court of Rock Island County determined that police violated defendant’s fourth amendment rights by conducting a dog sniff of the threshold of defendant’s apartment, located on the third floor of an unlocked apartment building. The appellate court affirmed. 2017 IL App (3d) 160457. We now affirm.



The facts of this case were stipulated to by the parties.

Defendant, Derrick Bonilla, lived in an apartment at Pheasant Ridge Apartment Complex in Moline, Illinois. The East Moline Police Department received a tip that defendant was selling drugs from his apartment. Acting on that tip, on March 19, 2015, officers brought a trained drug-detection dog to defendant’s apartment building. The exterior doors to the apartment building were not locked. The three-floor apartment building contained four apartments on each floor.

Once inside the building, Moline canine officer Genisio2 walked his drug-detection dog through the second-floor common area. The dog showed no interest in the second-floor common area and did not alert on any of the apartment thresholds. Officer Genisio then walked his dog through the third-floor common area. The dog showed no interest in units 301, 302, or 303. As the dog came to defendant’s apartment, unit 304, however, it moved back and forth in the doorway, sniffed at the bottom of the door, and signaled a positive alert for the presence of narcotics.

Officers obtained a search warrant for defendant’s apartment based on the drug-detection dog’s alert. Officers searched defendant’s apartment and found cannabis. Defendant was later arrested and charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5(c) (West 2014)).

In June 2015, defendant filed a motion to suppress. A hearing was held on that motion in August 2016.

The parties stipulated to the facts, and no additional testimony or evidence was presented. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court granted defendant’s motion to suppress, stating:

“But I think whether you are doing it as a privacy interest under [Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001),] or a curtilage property interest under [Jardines, 569 U.S. 1], I think it would just be unfair to say you can’t come up on a person who lives in a single family residence and sniff his door but you can go into someone’s hallway and sniff their door if they happen to live in an apartment. That’s a distinction with an unfair difference. So I’m granting the motion.”

After the State’s oral motion to reconsider was denied, the State appealed.

The State did not file a separate certificate of impairment but did set forth in its notice of appeal that the granting of defendant’s motion to suppress had the substantive effect of dismissing the charges.

The appellate court affirmed

Read desicion here

Posted In: Constitutional/Proper Use of L.E. Authority, Drugs, Legal Updates,
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