High Court Limits Drug-Sniffing Dog Searches
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High Court Limits Drug-Sniffing Dog Searches
Posted by CN Staff on April 21, 2015 at 09:58:02 PT
By David G. Savage
Source: Los Angeles Times
Washington, D.C. -- The Supreme Court told the police Tuesday they may not turn routine traffic stops into drug searches using trained dogs. The 6-3 decision ends the increasingly common practice whereby officers stop a car for a traffic violation and then call for a drug-sniffing dog to inspect the vehicle.The justices, both liberal and conservative, agreed that it was an unconstitutional "search and seizure" to hold a motorist in such cases.
"Police may not prolong detention of a car and driver beyond the time reasonably required to address the traffic violation," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking for the court.The decision applies the 4th Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures" and covers all the police--local, state and federal.Ginsburg said police officers who stop a car for speeding or another traffic violation are justified in checking the motorist and his driver's license. But a traffic stop does not give officers the authority to conduct an "unrelated" investigation involving drugs, she said."The tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure's 'missions'--to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop and attend to related safety concerns," she explained in Rodriquez vs. United States. "Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are--and reasonably should have been--completed."Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia. Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined her opinion.Tuesday's ruling marks one of the few times the high court has invoked the 4th Amendment to limit police conducting traffic stops.Two years ago, the justices ruled police may not use drug-sniffing dogs around the front door of a home without a search warrant, stressing the privacy expectations of a home.The justices now expand that to prevent traffic stops from becoming a pretext for stopping cars and conducting drug searches.The case decided Tuesday began when a Nebraska police officer saw a vehicle run onto the shoulder of a highway and then jerk back on to the road. It was after midnight on March 27, 2012.Two men were in car, and driver, Dennys Rodriguez, said he had driven off the road to avoid a pot hole. The officer checked his license, registration and insurance, and also checked the passenger. A few minutes later, he decided to write Rodriquez a written warning.Once the traffic stop was "out of the way," the officer asked Rodriquez for permission to search his vehicle with a drug-sniffing dog. The driver refused, but the officer told him he may not leave until the dog arrived.About five minutes later, a second officer arrived with a dog, which in turn alerted to the presence of drugs. Acting on that alert, the officers found a bag of methamphetamine.Rodriquez was prosecuted in federal court for the drug violation, but he challenged the seizure of evidence on the grounds it violated the 4th Amendment. The judge and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a minimal extra detention of 7-10 minutes was reasonable, and Rodriquez was sentenced to five years in prison.The high court reversed the 8th Circuit's decision and said it was not reasonable to prolong the traffic stop to wait for the drug dog to arrive.Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy dissented. They said the stop itself was legal, and it was reasonable to hold the motorist because the officer suspected they may be carrying drugs.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: David G. SavagePublished: April 21, 2015Copyright: 2015 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Justice Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on April 23, 2015 at 10:28:58 PT
Right on, Observer!
I'm so glad about this. A little respect for the human,please!My husband and I were grabbed by these highway robbers in Memphis many years ago. We had a new car and they sure thought it would be fun to confiscate, apparently. We waited, and waited, and waited for the dogs at their order. After the canines and more officers arrived and circled the car (and me) to no avail, the handler tried to make the poor thing (Big poor thing) pounce up onto our trunk! I saw him. I heard him. But the dog was sick of it and it was so hot that day. Very hot. He wouldn't jump. He was panting. Thank you, Mr. Dog Officer. I hate claw scratches on my car... especially a brand new one!Now that I think of it... I realize that was just spite for having no contraband!I'd love to trust and appreciate all cops again. Only heroes need apply. No a-holes, please. And my cops, that I trusted, would never, ever use the F-word... EVER... in the carrying out of their solemn duties. In fact... it's one of the rules of deportment that a rookie cop is REQUIRED to follow. To me... them using the F-word on duty is a firing offense or at least they can't carry a gun or a taser. It's so NOT a class act. And police should be a "Class act". Blurting and flinging around those expletives, makes them look stupid and out of control.... like they can't control themselves. Actually that's what it does mean... they've lost it. It makes me sick. The ability to take peoples things... including their "Lunch money"... just feeds the bullying troll aspect that is so prevalent in many law enforcement today. And to bring dogs into the act. Wow! How cool that must be for the predatory officers out there. Lurking under a bridge... gonna get you... and make you give them your stuff... beyond your tax money! Ha! Ha!A little respect for the Fourth Amendment. For the Constitution. For the human.Oh, and I did tell him I did not like his jack boots and black military attire and I did not like the Drug War and the destruction of human rights in it's path. They made my husband sit in the patrol car. The deal was to get "Separate stories" on where we were going and what we were doing. And to intimidate us. The cop left with me, to guard me, didn't like me. He probably knew there wouldn't be anything and told the handler to scratch the car for good measure.He was hateful. He nearly made me cry. My eyes teared up once when he leaned in towards me and hollered and kind of jumped at me. He was trying to intimidate me. That's a threat when you lean in to people, snarl, and raise your voice. And make a jumping moving as you lean in. It's probably an intimidation technique they are specifically taught.Why would an officer want to intimidate innocent people?I didn't feel protected by law enforcement... I felt accosted by a heavily armed gang of bullies and their dog pack.It's certainly doubtful that they remember us, but lately, often, I think it would be kind of nice if that one cop remembered what I told him about his Drug War. It was going to change... because it was wrong.
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Comment #1 posted by observer on April 21, 2015 at 11:50:49 PT
Routine Traffic Stop - Parallel Construction - NSA
re: "Tuesday's ruling marks one of the few times the high court has invoked the 4th Amendment to limit police conducting traffic stops."I can hardly believe it. re: "Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy dissented. They said the stop itself was legal, and it was reasonable to hold the motorist because the officer suspected they may be carrying drugs."Because what is really happening is the tie-in with the NSA/DEA domestic spying here, making it all the more amazing they ruled that way.Your local PD initiates the "pretext stop" (a "pretext" in this context, is governmentese for a "lie"), 
based on illegal domestic wiretaps, which are in turn, based on automated keyword analysis of audio content. Mass, automatic keyword analysis of audio content is an ability the NSA has had for at least 20 years. So when the license-plate OCR scanner sees a plate, or when they call it in after a stop (or initiate the false stop based on what they think you're carrying - which is based on wiretaps, remember), police are staring at a screen that has information based on that. If he's lucky, pot will be in "plain sight". Or the victim will simply break down and confess to his inquisitor. Before this ruling, Officer Friendly would call in Jango the drug K-9 from across town, which would (like Clever Hans) alert on command, giving goodly officers legal cover for their (NSA wiretap-enhanced) fishing expedition. My prediction is that "anonymous tip" rates will suddenly begin to soar, as the police state simply switches their lying "pretext"., these swarms of officers will need to engineer another lying "pretext" to cover their illegal acts. Illegal acts far worse than pot "crimes", by any stretch of the imagination.
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