Supreme Court Rules on Canine Searches, with Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

A Florida court had initially ruled that when it comes to canine searches, a dog's training and certification records must be introduced to the court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent unanimous decision, overruled the Florida court saying these standards were too burdensome.

Retired Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman, of Santa Clara, California, says that the Florida court's checklist was too demanding and that should have been required was for it to be treated like any other reasonable situation. "The canine's reliability should be reviewed in the totality of circumstances," says Hyman.

In the initial Florida case, the dog had alerted with respect to drugs but the police didn't find any ingredients during the search. The handler had alerted to the dog due to the powder residue on the door handle. Hyman says that studies have shown that the handler often directs the dog based on what he feels is necessary. The handler has to be very careful not to put out any cues, says Hyman.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.

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