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Court: Warrant needed for drug-dog search at apartment door

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a police canine’s detection of drugs outside an apartment door in an unlocked building is an unlawful search.

The court ruled 4-3 Thursday that the common area outside any apartment door is a legal part of a home. Justice Thomas Kilbride’s opinion determined that police need a warrant before a drug-sniffing dog can search it.

East Moline police acted on a March 2015 tip and a canine detected drugs outside the third-floor apartment’s door in an unlocked Moline building.

The court previously held such a search in a locked building was unconstitutional.

Justice Bob Thomas was one of three members dissenting. He says there’s no expectation of privacy in the common areas of a multi-unit building.

The case is People v. Bonilla.

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