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The case did not originally arise in California. However, if the Supreme Court accepts the case for review, the court's decision will certainly affect whether or not law enforcement agencies in California, including along the Central Coast, can use drug-sniffing dogs outside a personal residence without a warrant.

The issue arose out of a Florida investigation into an alleged urban marijuana growing operation. Police say they received a tip of a possible marijuana cultivation operation inside a Miami home.

Law enforcement apparently put the home under surveillance and without obtaining a search warrant brought in a drug-sniffing dog. Law enforcement says the canine smelled along the base of the closed front door of the home, and sat down, indicating to law enforcement that the dog detected the scent of drugs.

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FBI agents and police officers testified at a congressional hearing Thursday regarding increasing difficulties that law enforcement is experiencing in attempting to gather evidence against people they suspect of committing offenses. Law enforcement claims that new forms of communication inhibit their ability to conduct wiretaps.

California criminal defense attorneys know that evidence cannot be used to convict an individual if law enforcement gathers evidence in an unconstitutional manner. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Members of law enforcement, however, told congressional leaders yesterday that many new forms of communication provide law enforcement with increased difficulty in placing wiretaps even where the wiretap is authorized under a warrant.

Speaking before a House Judiciary subcommittee, FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni said it is "exponentially more difficult" to place a court-authorized wiretap on some forms of new technology. She says people can communicate via anonymous avatars and through wireless technology that evades wiretaps.

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