Criminal Justice

More on John Preston's Miracle Florida Police Dog


Last month, I blogged on a series of DNA exonerations of men convicted of rapes in the early 1980s due to the extraordinary claims of Florida police dog handler John Preston, now deceased. Now a fourth conviction has been called into question.

Questions about Preston's miracle dogs have persisted for two decades. See, for example, the jaw-dropping Geraldo Rivera 20/20 segment below. One state's attorney even resigned in protest, stating he wouldn't be a part of his colleagues "manufacturing evidence."

Yet prosecutors continued using Preston. And still today, even after the exonerations, Florida's governor, attorney general, and the state's attorney for Brevard County (where Preston mostly testified) refuse to open an investigation to see if any other convictions may have been tainted by his testimony.

NEXT: For Marijuana Activist, a Gag Instead of an Ankle Bracelet

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How much does Florida suck? Let me count the ways…

  2. Florida looks like a big droopy dick for a reason, Tingy.

  3. A canine Clever Hans.

    Like the owner of the famous horse, Preston may actually have believed in his dog’s abilities.

    There is no fool more dangerous than a self-deluded fool with power – in this case, the literal power to send people to jail

  4. Xeones @ 2:14 PM

    In that case, let’s not discuss the Florida Keys.

  5. Aresen, there’s a reason Cuba hates us.

  6. Aresen! You owe me a new screen!

  7. Florida has its pluses and its minuses. I think it’s a pretty sweet place to live, overall. Especially the no income tax bit.

  8. The twenty fifth law of system engineering, on how to deal with legal conflict – “Finally, you should remember that as a system engineer you can be liable for damages if your system should fail. Don’t spend time on lawyer bashing. Just remember the guidelines of any legal conflict:

    Deny everything, admit nothing, demand proof, and reject the proof.”

    McClinton, 1994.

    Sounds like the Flordia DA’s and Pols know how to cover their collective backsides.

  9. Woof woof!

    What’s that Lassie? Timmy was pushed into a well?

    Woof woof!

    By this guy right over here?

    Woof woof!

    And you can smell the malice aforethought and premeditation such that those elements of first degree homicide need no further proof in a court of law?

    Woof woof!

    Good dog.

  10. One state’s attorney even resigned in protest, stating he wouldn’t be a part of his colleagues “manufacturing evidence.”

    Please tell me someone gave this everyday hero a good (and lucrative) job in the aftermath.


  11. So, when the dog is wrong or just can’t find anything it’s because the scent is blown around or up into trees.

    If scent is that easily moved then how could he ever track anything? Wouldn’t the scent at EVERY crime scene be blown hither and yon and get attached to all of the crime scene technicians and cops wandering around?

    How can a scent be so mobile and yet be accurately followable along a city street SIX MONTHS LATER?

  12. Mr. ShutterGeek, thank you sir. We won’t need your services on the jury.

  13. Florida juries must be almost entirely drawn from urban populations. Backwoods parts of the state are full of people who hunt coons, foxes, quail, and deer with dogs, and they would have a realistic idea about what a dog is capable of.

  14. As the son of a veterinarian who worked for his father as an assistant dealing with dogs brought in by “backwoods people”, I can tell you there is no group more ignorant of abilities, needs and proper care of dogs.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.