CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Scent Lineups

The New York Times has an article headlined Picked From a Lineup, on a Whiff of Evidence addressing concerns over this procedure:

Dogs’ noses have long proved useful to track people, and the police rely on them to detect drugs and explosives, and to find the bodies of victims of crime and disaster. A 2004 report by the F.B.I. states that use of scent dogs, properly conducted, “has become a proven tool that can establish a connection to the crime.”

Scent lineups, however, are different. Critics say that the possibilities of cross-contamination of scent are great, and that the procedures are rarely well controlled. Nonetheless, although some courts have rejected evidence from them, the technique has been used in many states, including Alaska, Florida, New York and Texas, said Lawrence J. Myers, an associate professor of animal behavior at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2009/11/scent-lineups.html

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