Recently, in Florida v. Jardine, 569 U.S. ________ (2013),  the United States Supreme Court decided that it was illegal for police to bring a drug dog to a house and have the dog sniff the home’s curtilage to determine whether or not marijuana was being illegally grown in the house. (By the way, this occurred in Florida, not Colorado.)

So what is curtilage?

Curtilage is the area immediately adjacent to, and around a home (and according to the United States Supreme Court, a protected area that could not be searched with a drug-sniffing dog) without a warrant.

Another definition from, based on the definition from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law ©2001:

Definition – Noun
[Anglo-French curtillage enclosed land belonging to a house, kitchen garden, from Old French cortillage kitchen garden, fromcortil garden, ultimately from Latin cohort– cohors farmyard]
: the area surrounding and associated with a home
The curtilage of a house is included in the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures

This case touches on two areas of interest for those of us at Shaun Kaufman Law, P.C.:

  • The right to be free from police intrusion
  • The amazing role of dogs in human life.

We welcome your inquiry about any legal case, from dog bites to drug busts, as Colorado criminal defense attorney Shaun Kaufman has studied both, and has worked as a lawyer in both areas for decades. Contact Shaun Kaufman any day of the week, twenty-four hours a day, at 303-309-0430 or fill out the contact form on the right side of this page, and Shaun will get back to you as soon as possible.