Supreme Court: Cops Can’t Violate 4th Amendment by Prolonging Traffic Stops to Wait for Drug Dogs

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that police are not allowed to extend a citizen’s detention, during a normal traffic stop, while officers probe for evidence of crimes unrelated to the offense that prompted the initial stop.

In the case before the court, Rodriguez v. U.S., Dennys Rodriguez was given a warning for driving on the shoulder of the highway then forced to wait for almost 10 minutes as police awaited the arrival of a drug-sniffing dog.

After arriving at the scene, the dog alerted, and a subsequent search of the vehicle found methamphetamine.

The issue before the court was whether it was reasonable to extend Rodriguez’s detention on the side of the road for longer than needed to deal with the initial offense, absent reasonable suspicion on the part of the officer.

The court voted 6-3 in favor of Rodriguez, with the majority holding that the stop went beyond what was reasonable under the law and setting precedent for the entire country.

Prior to the decision, the U.S. Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, following precedent, held that “extension of the stop… for the dog sniff was only a de minimus intrusion on Rodriguez’s Fourth Amendment rights and was, therefore, permissible.”

Penning the majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, rebuked that contention, holding that detention of a person for any longer than it takes to deal with initial offense, even if only a few minutes, was improper.

 

Download The Ruling Here: Supreme_Court_Ruling
Chris Pastor, Odin

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