Supreme Court Limits Use of Dog Sniffs During Traffic Stops

Good decision by the Supreme Court yesterday, holding police can't delay a traffic stop to bring on the dogs without reasonable suspicion.

Actual holding: Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.

The opinion is here. The 8th Circuit opinion is here.

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    I was detained (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 09:07:16 PM EST
    ...by a deputy for "driving while white," i.e. being a big, tough looking white guy leaving an area where the deputies won't go alone and unarmed.

    There was no actual traffic infraction, because my friends had alerted me by cellphone that I was being stalked by three deputies' vehicles.  I was pulled over anyway, and when I showed the deputy my Driver's License he kept it and went back to his car for ten minutes, where he obviously found that not only did I have no warrants or criminal record, I HAVE NEVER EVEN BEEN ARRESTED.

    I filed a formal complaint over being detained without cause.  The Sheriff's Office didn't want to discipline the deputy who stopped me, because he had been directed to do so.  They told me he had made a "good faith" mistake.  I dragged out the SCOTUS decision where one justice commented, "There is no 'good faith' exception to the Fourth Amendment, because if there were, the Fourth Amendment would be meaningless."

    In frustration, I asked, "Are you telling me the Supreme Court is wrong about the Fourth Amendment?"

    He admitted that he was, and that was the end of it, because no discipline was going to be handed out.

    Read whatever you like into that.

    You know (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 09:42:26 PM EST
    I tried to get some help from the police with regards to a family member and they said they couldn't do it because of the 4th Amendment. It seems they like the 4th Amendment when it comes to not doing something they don't want to do.

    K9s (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 10:51:02 PM EST
    Did they put a limit on the number of Beggin' Strips
    the police can use to salt the vehicles.

    I was impressed by Justice Ginsburg's ability (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 11:38:25 PM EST
    to win Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts over to her side to gain a majority on this one. In the most similar prior case, she had been the dissenter.

    The opinion Jeralyn posted was labeled (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 06:00:19 AM EST
    U.S. Court of Appeals.  This was the original case, right, an appeals court decision appealed?

    So how does a small time hood (50g meth) get lucky enough to land an attorney capable or interested enough to take a case to the Supreme Court?

    One of the cites:

    "United States v. $404,905.00 in U.S. Currency"  

    I can see how the $404,905.00 can afford an attorney.  What I can't see is their pre-trial conversation.

    From the case:

    "Dennys Rodriguez entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine,"

    Is the law really written that broadly?  Any detectable amount?  One microgram of meth in 50 kilos of sugar gets you charged with trafficking 50 kilos of meth?

    With that crappy definition, why not just weigh the entire freakin' car - charge him with transporting 1000 kilos of meth?  It's only slightly stretching the definition of mixture.


    Excellent questions, Mr. N (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Peter G on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 09:23:26 AM EST
    a) Yes, J had the wrong link.  Here is the Supreme Court decision.
    b) Rodriguez was represented by an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Nebraska.  Federal PDs are often among the best lawyers in the federal criminal justice system. The public defender who argued the case, his first in the Supreme Court, and among his last before retiring.
    c) Yes, the federal "possession with intent to distribute" law does cover possession of a "mixture or substance containing a detectable amount" of the controlled substance.
    d) and although you didn't ask, a "conditional plea" means: "I plead guilty while reserving the right to appeal the denial of my motion to suppress the evidence seized in what I claim was an unconstitutional search.  If I lose the appeal, my guilty plea will stand and I will have to serve my sentence.  If I win the appeal, my guilty plea is voided and I expect the prosecutor then to dismiss the case for lack of evidence."

    That would be a cool way (none / 0) (#38)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:18:52 PM EST
     to end one's career.

    When I first read the title (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 07:08:08 PM EST
    i had visions of outlawing cops sniffing your butt during traffic stops.  I had not heard of this problem but was not surprised.

    I mostly agree (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:04:33 PM EST
      but "mixture" means in a "usable" form of the substance.  Examples: if a smuggler conceals coke by combining it with plastic or ceramic to make figurines to ship, it would not be the total weight of the figurines. If however one has 90% pure coke weighing 50g he will be in the same BOL as someone has a mixture of 10% coke and 90% manitol that weighs 50g.

      Meth is though one with a separate category for a "meth mixture" and for "pure meth" or ice" (basically, 90% + is considered "pure" and it takes 1/10th the weight of pure to put you in the same BOL as for mix)

     But yes, for most drugs, (oxycodone uses actual weight and LSD and I think a few other use "doses" to measure) a heavily cut or  stepped on product weighing 50g total will get you the same BOL as a nearly pure product.

      The guidelines also don't distinguish at all between grades of marijuana. Dirt weed is measured the same as the finest bud.

      In terms of risk/reward if one were looking to make the most money at the lowest risk of federal time, he would stick to primo weed. Weed that might sell on the street for $20-40 a g depending on where you are is treated 1000X  more favorably than heroin that might sell for only $ 80-120 a g. IOW , all else being equal you'll do the same time for 10-20g of heroin as you will 10-20 kilos of weed. so, in practice the differential can even be 19999999999X (19.9999 kilos of weed same BOL as 10 grans of heroin.



    1999.9999 (none / 0) (#29)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:06:47 PM EST
    forgot the decimal point in the last sentence

    It was a really simple question, (none / 0) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:38:30 PM EST
    I don't mean to sound ungrateful (I'm sure you went to great lengths to try and answer Mr.N )

    And, I know the answer is in there somewhere, but, when even Google doesn't know what "BOL" means, I'm not going to wrack my brain trying to figure what you were trying to say.

    And, I'm a college graduate.

    P.S. maybe some kind "regular" here will explain it to me?


    base offense level (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:49:02 PM EST
    Hey thanks (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:00:01 PM EST
    I was
    "Just asking questions"
    lol (sorry)
    Did you know the answer? Or, if you looked it up, where did you find it?

    I googled (none / 0) (#35)
    by CST on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:05:14 PM EST
    "B.O.L. drug crimes"

    Sometimes it's all about how you ask :)


    Gotcha (none / 0) (#39)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:21:52 PM EST
    Gotta narrow it down, like, how it's used in a sentence.

    Spasiba :)


    sorry, jargon (none / 0) (#33)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:58:35 PM EST
    BOL mean base offense level, it's the starting point for detrmining an offense level under the federal sentencing guidelines. Othe additions or subtractions can apply resulting in a total offense level.

     The TOl and criminal history category are then used to determine the advisory sentencing range.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#36)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:09:02 PM EST
    Now, maybe you could simplify it a little more (you probably answered it within your extraordinarily thorough answer) but, to your knowledge, and to your experience with judges, where do believe the cutoff ratio would be, controlled substance vs. filler?

    And, to make it even simpler for us dunderheads, lets say the total amount of powder in the bag is one pound, how small amount of pure meth within that pound would the judge go to determine the suspect was guilty of possessing one pound of contraband?

    I hope my question is understandable.


    There is no "cut off", (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:17:39 PM EST
      in the law per se.

    But theoretically ( because I've never had the situation arise and looked into it ) I could envision a possibility of a case where  the drug % within a mixture might be so low that it is barely above  the "reliability  threshold"  , (thus detectable, but arguably not usable) of the mass spectrometry testing which is used to identify and quantify the constituents of a sample (there are several steps before this) but the spectrometry is the tool that give the %s.)

      Off the top of my head I don't even know the preciseness of the instrument testing (and I suspect it might vary from substance to substance).

       But, if for purposes of illustration we were to say spectrometry can detect a substance  in a mixture at a level of 100 parts per million (again, I'm just making that up for illustration) which would be .01% and a sample came back at  150 ppm or .015%, I think you'd have a plausible argument that mixture is not usable as a drug  because there is no way someone without expensive equipment and some high degree of knowledge in using it could separate a portion with a high enough proportion of the drug  to get one high.

      The gross amount involved might matter but even  if it was 5 tons gross, you would have only 1  1/2 pounds of the drug at 150 ppm, and that would be a ton of expense and trouble to go through for such a relatively small amount,

      With more typical amounts like 10 kilos or less, that would be a gram and a half or less of actual drug.

       In cases where it's very low but many times the 150ppm, like say 10,000 ppm (1%), you might still have that argument   but I've never even had one near that low.

       A big problem would be not only the law saying "detectable amount" but that in many cases it would be difficult to convince a judge because despite the guy holding some very weak stuff, there are usually facts which prove the guy intended to possess the drug that is present in a tiny concentration and sold it as the drug in question to people intending to buy that drug.

      A lot of people (including judges) would say that the lack of quality of his product doesn't have much bearing on his culpability.


    All righty, we're almost there. (none / 0) (#47)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:54:44 PM EST
    Now, to many (most?) people Mr. Natural's, and my question, may seem to be ridiculously extreme, but, you, and I (I, from personal experience) know that judges have been known to use extreme pretexts when they really want to nail a particular defendant. And, it the law doesn't specifically state a mathematical ratio, then one molecule of controlled substance within a ton of dog sh*t, could spell, "GUILTY."

    The examples you gave were from your experience,  knowledge, and professional opinion, and, what a judge would "probably" deduce and decide. But, our question is, IF a judge wanted to define "detectable," in this one case, and, with this one defendant, as one molecule, could he/she do it?

    well, (none / 0) (#56)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 10:11:36 AM EST
      "detectable" would likely be defined in accordance with its common meaning so to the limit  of the existing technology's capability to isolate and detect a substance, I'd say yes. We could not currently detect 1 molecule in a ton of anything but theoretically....

      I'd also add that those extreme hypothetical factors would raise other defenses.

     "Possession" means the ability to exercise dominion and control over a thing. One could argue that it is impossible to exercise dominion and control over a extremely fractional portion of a whole.

      The possession must also be "intentional." It would often be close to impossible to prove intent to possess if the thing in question was present only in a microscopic percentage of a larger whole.


    I fixed the link (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 02:11:25 AM EST
    and to answer your question re: U.S. v. $404k, when the forfeiture is for that much money, lawyers may take the case on a contingency, if they think there's a decent shot at settling it..

    Do you think they were more receptive (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 08:00:44 AM EST
    To hearing her with the uprisings in the streets and the entitled police brutality everyone's recording and sharing?

    Indirectly. The case does reek (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Peter G on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 09:31:36 AM EST
    of a racially profiled pretextual stop.  The "traffic cop" who stopped Rogriguez -- to issue a ticket for allowing his tires to drift onto the shoulder (and then jerk back onto the roadway) -- was in fact a K-9 officer with a drug dog in the back of his car. He was clearly out looking for cars he could find an excuse to search for drugs. The delayed detention that the Supreme Court majority held to violate the Fourth Amendment was the officer's decision to wait for backup (another cop car) before running the dog around the car, in case he then decided to arrest Rodriguez on drug charges and wanted a second officer present for that.

    to conclude this:
    The case does reek of a racially profiled pretextual stop.

    Curious? Really? (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by Peter G on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 12:33:38 PM EST
    "Just asking questions?", in other words? Sorry, not taking the bait.

    That link (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by sj on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 01:03:38 PM EST
    should be the response to many, many comments around here.

    I'd give you (none / 0) (#22)
    by Zorba on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 12:43:02 PM EST
    a "ten" for this response if I could, Peter.

    Uh, yeah. Really. Curious what you find (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 01:00:14 PM EST
    in the facts of the case that would lead you to conclude that the stop was due to racial profiling.

    From what I've been able to google it sounds like it would probably have been pretty difficult for the cop to have any clear idea of what the race of the driver of the car was before he pulled him over.

    However, you are not one who typically makes claims w/o reasonable facts to support them, and I wouldn't expect this to be any different.

    iow, it sounds like you probably have facts about the stop that I don't, and I'm curious as to what they are.


    As Peter suggested (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 01:34:43 PM EST
     the main fact that alerts those of us who do this for a living  is that a K-9 unit is out on the highway conducting "routine" traffic stops.

       The dog serves no purpose in a routine traffic stop so one can infer there might have been some hope something "better" would develop.

    Add the minor violation  (and subjective nature of said  violation which creates a " he said/he said between driver and cop making it hard to "disprove" probable cause for the stop) and the fact it was a car from far out of state (Virginia) and you have the seminal elements of a pretextual stop (minus 1). Pretextual stops are not illegal when there is probable cause of a traffic violation but that rule invites officers to selectively pull over vehicles they "have a hunch" (not probable cause or even reasonable suspicion) might be carrying drugs.

      As for the "racial" while the evidence is less strong than for the "pretextual" part, the fact the driver was in fact Hispanic and that Valley is a tiny town 20 miles East of Omaha with a tinier minority population and it is not an unreasonable inference that racial or ethnic profiling played a role. ( The racial makeup of the city-- 96.81% White, 0.56% African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.79% of the population.)

      Even if we were to assume that the stop was made when the cop was unaware the car was driven by a Hispanic. the refusal to let him go and making him wait so the dog could detect could still be racially or ethnically motivated. Call me cynical, but if had been a white grandma from Valley there might not have been a sniff.


    Ya, I was mostly referring (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:17:04 PM EST
    to the "racial" part, but the pretextual part and your concluding paragraph are also interesting. I'm happy to oblige.

    Regarding race: From what I was able to google, the stop took place on a highway just after midnight by a cop who saw a car up ahead partially cross the white shoulder line.

    With those facts in hand, it would seem difficult to me to think that the cop discerned the driver's ethnicity before he pulled him over.

    Again, Peter typically has basis for his statements, and I would imagine he has done way more research on this case than me, and therefor might have some facts that I don't, so that's why I asked.

    Regarding pretextual: As far as I know, there was no he said/he said about the violation. There seems to be no disagreement by either party that the car partially crossed the white line. That being the case the violation was not subjective and was probable cause.

    Do you have have more facts about this which I don't?

    Did race play a part in what happened after the cop pulled them over?

    Maybe so. fwiw, although I didn't find any confirmation by google, I presume the cop, Morgan Struble, is white. The driver, Dennys Rodriquez, obviously has a hispanic surname. Rodriguez's passenger at the time, Scott Pollman, is also presumably white.


    I just re-read your comment. (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:41:37 PM EST
    Agreed that the presence of the K9 does make it more likely that in situations where the cop has the ability to choose, he would choose a course of action that could result him using the dog for purpose that he has the dog, rather then choosing a course which would not result in him using his dog.

    iow, if he doesn't pull the car over, (none / 0) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:54:53 PM EST
    he doesn't get to us the dog.

    Just because the defense attorney (none / 0) (#44)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:30:54 PM EST
      chose not to raise probable cause for the stop doesn't really change my perspective.

      That could be a purely tactical decision-- I've got a strong argument on the prolonged detention based on the cop's own statements and I don't need to discredit him in any way to establish what I need for that. So I'm not going to distract from my strong argument with a weaker argument. Especially one for which  I can only introduce supporting evidence by putting my client  and/or his friend on the stand to claim the cop is lying. That is the he said/he said aspect, and one where the "he" with the badge often is believed.



    Ah, I see. The cop said Rodriguez said (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:51:02 PM EST
    that he crossed the line while swerving to avoid a pothole. (she said/she said)

    There is the potential that that this alleged statement proving probable cause was not challenged by the defense because it didn't enhance, and might distract from, their main argument based on the 4th Amendment.

    I did think it somewhat unusual that the cop only gave Rodriguez a written warning for the crossing the line violation, maybe because the cop knew it was lame?


    in other other words, from your link, (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 01:08:43 PM EST
    A caveat

    The Socratic method can be a legitimate means of stimulating critical thinking. Obviously not all questioning is done from this position; in some cases, a person may simply not feel confident enough in their position to make an assertion, so they instead ask a question in order to gather more information or elicit others' thoughts before making up their mind about a particular stance.

    and not this:

    "Just asking questions" takes over when the answers are already well known, where the question embodies a point refuted a thousand times, or where the questioner exhibits willful ignorance.

    You could have had enough info (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:02:49 PM EST
    From what I've been able to google it sounds like it would probably have been pretty difficult for the cop to have any clear idea of what the race of the driver of the car was before he pulled him over.

    The traffic stop does not appear to have been at issue.  This is about the dog-sniff search, which appears not to have been initiated until the business of the traffic stop was complete.

    Do you now see how the officer might have known something about the apparent race of the driver before initiating the sniff-search?


    Jack, the comment I responded to (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 03:31:20 PM EST
    did question the traffic stop.

    SUO, the crux of the matter (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 04:38:38 PM EST
    Let's settle this question like reasonably intelligent, intuitive grown-ups. o.k?

    In this case, as in many cases (racial profiling, for instance) this cop, as all cops in history, doesn't say, "Yes, I went the extra yard to try and nail the guy for a more serious crime because he was a minority." Even cops who have retired, and now admit they racially profiled, and stopped, and issued citations, to minorities far, far in excess to the actual ratio of minority to white person, know it was wrong, and, illegal. That they do it continuously, that's just a given.

    Now, we're talking about this specific case. Everyone agrees the cop had every right to stop this driver for crossing the line. And, everyone (I believe, everyone) believes the cop probably didn't know the ethnicity of the driver at this point. So, the question is, did this driver receive the same follow up once the cop saw, and met this driver as would a white man or woman? In other words, crossing over a line, and immediately lurching back into lane, is a very common occurrence for, virtually, every driver who drives, or drove, on our roads. People who deal with these situations routinely will tell you that 99 times out of a 100 the cop will "run the driver's license" to make sure there's no outstanding warrants, maybe give a mild warning/reprimand, and let the driver go.

    But, what the cop did in this case was so far out of the bounds of what almost all other cops do in similar situations that questioning the cops motives in this particular case was absolutely called for.

    As someone before said, if, after the car was stopped, and the cop walked over and saw it was a 60 year old white grandmother, would he have put that woman through the same rig-a-ma-role as he did the Hispanic? If the answer is "no," you have a prima facie case of selective enforcement, based on race.

    Now, you can, as many commenters on blogs often do, try to squeeze every, "but, but, but, you can out of the situation, like, "but, you don't know that this cop treated this man different than others." Or, "you can't prove this cop acted out of racism."

    Correct & correct, and, that's why we have "judges," to, you know, "judge." With all their experience they don't need empirical "proof." Yes, judges can use that famous, old,sacred legal principal, "if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, etc." And, that's what happened here. He took such extraordinary measures with this one Hispanic driver, measures that he would never take with any white driver, that the deduction is clear, and, obvious.

    Judges can do that, they do it every day, and they did it on this day. Tough luck for the cop......too bad.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 08:34:03 AM EST
      I also think people here should evaluate other events using similar reasonably intelligent grown-up thinking.

       You are right on the money with your observation about some resorting to "but, but , but," you can't "know" and haven't offered "proof"  to the degree of moral certainty in response to people making observations that known specific facts support certain reasonable inferences, especially when combined with known patterns of human behavior and a modicum of common sense.

      That doesn't mean the reasonable inferences need be accepted as inarguable truth, but it does mean people attempting to act in a reasonable and intelligent manner will recognize the reality that simply screaming "you didn't prove it" doesn't render calls for  further discussion and investigation wrong.

      The Clinton Foundation well illustrates the existence of the existence of that lame line of attack on this blog. Of course, some people find it much easier to be rational and use common sense when doing so does not challenge their passions and prejudices.

       The contrast between that thread where any suggestion inferences from known facts support an opinion that the Foundation's conflict of interest issues deserve heavy scrutiny raises irrational and substance free bile spewing and this thread where people seem to be rationally approach competing viewpoints about police conduct can probably be explained by the relative  absence of people whose passion and prejudices are strongly in favor of the police. We occasionally a couple of posters with apparent pro-police prejudices but they seem to save their fire for discussions of police killing people.

       The people who can't approach anything related to the Clintons with anything but irrational knee-jerk defenses alleging anyone who dares mention something of concern about them descend like locusts at the slightest provocation.

      Odd, not one of them has suggested Peter (or even I) must have a hidden agenda to unfairly portray police in an unfavorable light based on "unproven" inferences.


    comments. Really kind of frustrating.

    The only opinion I offered on whether the cop's actions after he knew the ethnicity of the driver were based on the ethnicity of the driver was two simple words "Maybe so."


    What??? (none / 0) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 05:09:12 PM EST
    My characterization?

    I have no opinion, nor do I judge, nor do I imply anything, especially any characterization about you, or any of your statements.

    I tried, and I tried to be fair & non- judgmental, and that's as far as I go.

    Thanks anyway, maybe next time.


    Ya, when I kept seeing the word "you" (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 05:42:48 PM EST
    in a long lecture that you wrote to me, I assumed they referred to, you know, me.
    iow, you can, as many commenters on blogs often do, try to squeeze every, "but, but, but, you can out of the situation, like, "but, you don't know that this cop treated this man different than others." Or, "you can't prove this cop acted out of racism."

    You're right. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 05:49:40 PM EST
    While I assumed some things.  Also, I had read:
    Officer Morgan Struble testified that he was in the median on Highway 275. The defendant passed him going westbound in the opposite direction. Officer Struble turned his vehicle onto Highway 275 and headed in the same direction as the defendant.

    ...elsewhere.  I know nothing about the lighting on that portion of US-275 within the city of Valley, NE.

    I guess I tire of seeing the "How could the cop know the race of the driver before the stop, since the stop is made from behind the vehicle?" question so often, even when the vehicle was stopped within seconds after entering the cop's patrol area.  (Electronic speed measurement from behind an obstacle comes to mind - but the resulting stops don't seem to turn up accusations of profiling the way that officer-watching-traffic-then-following-a-car-awaiting-pretense-for-stop does.)


    that makes a difference. That certainly increases the potential that the cop knew the ethnicity of the driver before he pulled him over.

    ...but doesn't prove or disprove it. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jack E Lope on Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 11:50:21 AM EST
    I am able to believe that a town of about-2,000 population which has a K-9 unit would dredge the (approx. 1 mile of) US highway for both revenue and pretense to use the dog.  It also seems likely that racial profiling, concious or not, is a factor in selecting cars to search...or there may be little enough traffic that the police can latch on to almost every vehicle, without need to be selective.

    I used to work, starting in the 3AM to 5AM range each day, in a city of about-80,000 which had patrol cars waiting at the major entrance roads during the early-morning hours; as a vehicle entered the city they would latch on and follow until a mistake was detected, then pull it over.  (I would just make sure to pay attention to details of driving.  They stopped following my vehicle once they noticed the pattern.)  

    On a different note, I see that the officer from Valley, NE testified that he smelled air fresheners in the car.  I wonder if the dog has been trained (intentionally or not) to alert on those....


    I do wonder what caused the cop to decide (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 01:58:55 PM EST
    to leave median where he was hiding and follow the car.

    SITE VIOLATOR! (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 06:44:19 AM EST
    (Wait a minute, does the service come down here to Tennessee?)

    Site Violator. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 08:09:44 AM EST
    This is a site violator for those of you who have a hard time with that.

    I emailed (none / 0) (#15)
    by Zorba on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 08:24:34 AM EST
    Jeralyn to give  her a heads up about these.

    Site Violator (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 08:10:12 AM EST

    Site Violator. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 08:10:34 AM EST

    This is a key passage (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 12:14:47 PM EST

    Nevertheless, Struble [ the cop]did not consider Rodriguez [driver] "free to leave." Id., at 69-70. Although justification for the traffic stop was "out of the way," id., at 70, Struble asked for permission to walk his dog around Rodriguez's vehicle. Rodriguez said no. Struble then instructed Rodriguez to turn off the ignition, exit the vehicle, and stand in front of the patrol car to wait for the second officer. Rodriguez complied.

       It appears that this cop testified honestly as to this portion of the encounter. A court can find a "reasonable person" would not feel free to leave even if a cop testifies he was free to leave and "voluntarily" stuck around based on the totality of the circumstances, but it makes it more clear cut when the cop admits he was  detaining the person after completing all traffic stop actions.

        I also think that while the holding is limited to prolongation of detention absent reasonable suspicion  for a dog sniff, that the express rejection of the "de minimis" justification will have application in a broader range of stop cases.

    Yes, The traffic stop (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by KeysDan on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 02:48:46 PM EST
    was triggered by the vehicle entering the shoulder for " one or two seconds and jerked back unto the road."  Officer Struble stated that "I got all the reason for the stop out of the way...got rid of all the business," after having completed his traffic "mission"  ---making ordinary inquiries incident to the traffic stop and, then, issuing a written warning.

    But, Rodriquez and his passenger, Pollman (both driver's licenses were taken, checked, and returned), were still not free to leave.

    The Court decision is based on the adding of time to the stop, and not whether the written warning was issued before or after the sniffing by Floyd, the dog--in response to Justice Alito's dissent. A traffic stop is not an arrest, but a brief stop until tasks are completed.

    Moreover, the Court's decision goes beyond that point, distinguishing between ordinary inquiries related to enforcement of the traffic code-- driver's license, auto registration, proof of insurance--and even a check of outstanding warrants-- and on-scene investigations into other crimes.

    A dog sniff is not an ordinary inquiry, but a means to detect evidence of criminal activity.  And, differs from the check on warrants, which drew fire in the dissent that argued such a check should fare no better than Floyd's sniffing.  


    No apparent justification for (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 05:59:45 PM EST
    askng the passenger to produce ID either.

    SPAM (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 09:32:25 AM EST
    Not just the person posting in the thread, but also at the top of the thread it leads you to what appears to be a post but is an advertisement.

    Interesting info from the docket (none / 0) (#59)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 02:46:27 PM EST
      First, Mr. Rodriguez filed in March of 2013 to have Mr. O'Connor relieved and to proceed pro se. Rodriguez wrote: "Defense counsel has been ineffective in litigating this suppression of evidence and disagrees with the prosecution of the appeal in this matter." (I assume Rodriguez meant that he disagreed with the way O'Oonnor was handling the appeal)

     One can infer he is lucky the motion was denied by the 8th Circuit, even though I can't prove Rodriguez would not have won his case pro se at the 8th Circuit if permitted to represent himself.

      Second, Mr. Rodriguez's motion for release pending appeal was denied, meaning he has been was incarcerated since  2/5/13. No order has been entered in the district court regarding release, so he might be still in prison (it's also possible an  order was forwarded to BOP but not yet docketed).