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Published October 08, 2013, 01:29 PM

North Dakota Supreme Court asked to overturn drug dog case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors in Fargo want the state Supreme Court to overturn a judge's decision to dismiss some drug dog sniffing cases.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors in Fargo want the state Supreme Court to overturn a judge's decision to dismiss some drug dog sniffing cases.

In the case being appealed, District Court Judge Wickham Corwin ruled in May that authorities couldn't use evidence against Matthew Nguyen, 19, because police used a dog to smell for drugs allegedly coming from under his apartment door. Corwin cited a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that such a scenario required a search warrant, The Forum reported.

Police went in without a warrant and in plain clothes, according to court documents, and relied on a woman leaving Nguyen's building to hold the security door open for them.

In his brief to the North Dakota Supreme Court, Cass County prosecutor Gary Euren argued that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on which Corwin's decision is based involved a specific case and doesn't apply to Nguyen.

Because an apartment is rented, rather than owned, the renter shares the hallway with others and doesn't have the same ownership expectation, so no warrant was required, Euren wrote.

Defense attorney Mark Friese asked the high court to uphold Corwin's decision, saying Nguyen's case was more similar to the Supreme Court case than Euren described.

He asked the court not to create an "apartment exception" to the U.S. Supreme Court case.

Some other cases might be affected when the state Supreme Court's issues its ruling.

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