Police Abuse

Supreme Court Says Police Violated 4th Amendment When Use of Drug-Sniffing Dog Prolonged Routine Traffic Stop

Law enforcement loses 6-3 in Rodriguez v. United States.

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Credit: Library of Congress

In a 6-3 decision issued today in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Nebraska police violated the Fourth Amendment by extending an otherwise lawful traffic stop in order to let a drug-sniffing dog investigate the outside of the vehicle.

According to the majority opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, "a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution's shield against unreasonable seizures."

While "an officer…may conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop," Ginsburg held, "a dog sniff, unlike the routine measures just mentioned, is not an ordinary incident of a traffic stop."

At issue was a 2012 traffic stop conducted by a Nebraska police officer who happened to have his K-9 dog in the cruiser with him. When the stopped driver, Dennys Rodriguez, refused to consent to letting the drug dog walk around the outside of his vehicle, the Nebraska officer called for back-up, thereby prolonging the stop by an additional eight minutes. According to the Court's ruling today, those extra minutes violated Rodriguez's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.

During the January 2015 oral argument in the case, Justice Sonia Sotomayor previewed the Court's skepticism towards the police officer's approach. "We can't keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement," Sotomayor declared. "Particularly when this stop is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It's purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper."

The Supreme Court's opinion in Rodriguez v. United States is available here.

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  1. A small ray of hope, but perhaps too late.

  2. I’m shocked that Justice New Professionalism was on the correct side for once.I didn’t think there was anything cops could do that he wouldn’t approve of.

    1. I wonder if he’ll have a post-retirement revelation, similar to that experienced by Justice Powell, and open the door to reconsideration of some of his decisions. May be too late by then, of course.

    2. You should not be shocked. Scalia is very much an originalist. This was a straight forward case and the doctrine that a seizure means you are not free to leave is a very old one. I would have been very surprised to see Scalia go the other way on this case.

      1. This. Him and Ginsberg tag team the procedural stuff.

        1. “tag team” – interesting choice of words, given their friendship.

        2. That fact that it took Sotomayor and Kagan to take this over the line, and without them it would have failed, is disturbing in it’s own right.

      2. Scalia is very much an originalist.

        Um. Please re-align your focus mechanism.

        Scalia is very much the one who wears the mask of the originalist and offers himself up as the True Originalist. But whose “original intent” does Tony follow? It’s not that of the people who argued and debated over the 1776-1789 period. It’s Tony’s preference for thinking himself the font of “original intent” that earns him the label and grants him the mask.

        1. Agreed.

        2. I mean clearly the Raich case is evidence of this. There is no doubt the original intent of the constitution was to allow the federal government to prosecute people for non-interstate non-commercial possession of marijuana because …… well it doesn’t matter Scalia is an originalist cuz Amurica or something like that.

          1. It’s all about the confirmation bias. Tony Scalia gives an opinion whose result is approved by someone for sociopolitical identity reasons, and thus that someone assumes Tony has a lock on “original intent” of “the founders” simply because Tony harps on “original intent” and that magical latin phrase, stare decisis, as if he’s the keeper of the key to the gate surrounding the collective knowledge of “the founders.”

            Which founders? And their knowledge on which issues?

            Never mind. Tony Scalia says he’s got their collective wisdom in his own head, and he’s reputed to be a genius, so that’s all someone needs.

      3. Originalism annoys me. You could pluck statements out of context by the Framers to justify almost anything.

        1. +1 well regulated militia.

        2. Given that the “founders” disagreed vehemently over nearly everything concerning government power and its limits, shapes, and sizes (see the period of 1776-1789 if you don’t believe me), you actually could justify anything and not just “almost anything.”

          It’s typical for law students to learn all about Federalism and “the Federalists,” but very few ever study the Anti-Federalists or the little slivers of other dissent that existed 1776-1789. History is, after all, written by the winner(s).

        3. People keep throwing the word “intent” around in here like that is in any way relevant.

          You are confusing originalism with original intent, the two are not the same. Originalism does not pretend or care to know the intent of the founders or anyone else, instead it looks at the original meaning of the words at the time they were published.

          1. I’m gonna book that one as an attempt at comedy of the Prof Irwin Corey variety.

  3. That’s not even addressing the use of dogs as probably cause. Sniffer dogs are incredibly unreliable. They shouldn’t be allowed to be used for PC under any circumstances.

    1. Baby steps, KK, baby steps.

    2. b-i-n-g-o

    3. Sniffer dogs are actually quite reliable at alerting when their handlers want an alert, and that’s the only reason they even exist. They are probably cause generators, reasonable suspicion mills, warrant factories.

      1. Ding ding ding. Give this scarecrow a bundle of straw!

    4. *probable

      1. Probably 🙂

        1. prolly so !

      2. I make that same mistake every single time. It’s like it’s a programmed ritual — “probably” — doggonit [backspace] — “probable.”

      3. I make that same mistake every single time. It’s like it’s a programmed ritual — “probably” — doggonit [backspace] — “probable.”

      4. ^ Probably a spell checker. :0P

    5. Hasn’t SCOTUS already set that ship sailing? Quite recently, in fact. Or am I misremembering? I’m into anal but IANAL.

    6. While I agree with you, the court does not.

      https://reason.com/archives/201…..ou-to-jail

      1. I don’t think reason.com is my pulse-point for jurisprudence wisdom but to each his/her/its own, you know.

        The comments can be funny, but their ignorance is often almost as astounding as the typical pwoggy’s. Apparently there are even a few JD holders here, though their comments would never suggest they learned much while getting that degree.

          1. Why, because I’m not singing from your hymn book? You forgot to say I’m Tony and/or Bo and/or Mary Stack.

            If you can show me as ignorant on jurisprudence or con law, have at it.

            1. FTA:

              In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the Court declared that “the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog?during a lawful traffic stop generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests.”
              Florida v. Harris raises the question of how a judge knows that a dog’s alert is reliable enough to justify a search.

            2. After reading the whole thread, it is obvious you are not a copsucker like Tulpa so I apologize for impugning your name.

              (For the record, you’re not smarmy and full of yourself enough to be Tony or Bo. And we haven’t had a poster here in quite a while as crazy as Mary.)

              1. For the record, you’re not smarmy and full of yourself enough to be Tony or Bo

                Are you quite certain about that?

                1. Yes, I’m “full of myself” but the raging smug on tap here, that’s not smug or full-of-self-ness. They’re just the Forum Experts. Right?

                  Liberty, but with castes. Got it.

              2. Well, lookit that! You were wrong and you admitted it. That NEVER happens at H&R. Usually someone’s obviously wrong (see Tony, Bo, etc) and everyone tells that someone YOU’RE WRONG!.

                Sometimes, someone who doesn’t know feces from Kiwi Shoe Polish will tell me I’m wrong, and then a few will ditto ditto ditto like they’re begging the cool kids to let them join the elite club. But thus far, nobody’s admitted they were wrong when they said I was wrong. You win the Ron Bailey’s Enantiomer award. Where Bailey can’t admit error, you can!

                1. ^^^^ That’s supposed to be a reply to DesigNate’s 12:26pm comment.

            3. If you can show me as ignorant on jurisprudence or con law, have at it.

              It’s tough to show you as ignorant when you’ve actually said nothing, except for sucking your own dick on how smart you are.

              Feel free to school us, oh shitsmug one.

              1. It’s tough to show you as ignorant when you’ve actually said nothing, except for sucking your own dick on how smart you are.

                Feel free to school us, oh shitsmug one.

                The lack of evidence hasn’t stopped you from drawing conclusions before, don’t let it stop you now.

          2. I’m guessing he is “FYTW”. A lawyer with the same air of superiority.

            1. He’s not.

              That said, I agree with him that you’re an absolute, unapologetic, irredeemable fucking ignoramus in matters legal and constitutional.

              1. Where did oobins say that ?

                I would like to read it.

              2. Then, my apologies.

                And you’re an arrogant, condescending, unapologetic, irredeemable fucking asshole in all matters. You do wonders for your stereotype. Keep up the good work.

                Pompous fucking prick.

                1. Pompous fucking prick.

                  You’re almost funny, hiding behind that clickbait handle and posting from the men’s room where you’re getting some favors. Tell us more about Glenn Greenwald’s genius. Please.

        1. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Also, if you can get a dog to bark, then it’s also cool to seize and search, cause, c’mon, like, duh?

    7. Yeah. Using a dog can be considered a search. If you want to bring in a dog, get a warrant. I’m sure they are capable of finding hidden drugs, bombs, etc. in many cases. But they are also quite capable of doing whatever the handler wants them to do.

    8. I forsee a long march back on that, and on the putative reliability of brethalizers, amd so on. We are, I hope, seeing the beginning of the end of the public’s patience with the Drug War inthe spread of legal marijuana. It may still hang fire, but we can hope.

    9. I’ve had a few experiences with sniffer dogs in the military which might shed light on their reliability. I had a friend who was an MA1. He had a dog on the pier and I asked him what he was doing. He said that he just hid some pot on the pier and was testing the dog. We walked right past it three times and the dog didn’t alert. Afterwards I saw the pot, and it was some crappy old dried out stuff. Another time, he bitching that he had to come in on a Monday and it was a holiday and he didn’t have duty. I asked him why and he said, “You’ll find out”. I took that as a warning that he didn’t want to state plainly and got the word out to everybody. That Sunday night, this guy from Oregon came back. We were standing by his rack and I could smell skunk. I asked him if he had pot in his rack and he said yes. I told him what the MA told me and told him to put it somewhere else because if I could smell it, a dog surely would. He didn’t and the dumbass busted with two ounces, a major felony in the military. Luckily, a few people had keys to the evidence locker and somehow it became nine grams (restriction and fine only) before his captain’s mast . It was really primo, I… umm… heard. Our asshole CO was quite upset, but evidence is evidence. Another time I had an air hose fitting packed with skunk in my pocket at quarters in the morning. I was in the back row and they ordered us to parade rest and brought a dog through the…

      1. …ranks. The guys watching from behind were buddies and I managed to sneak it out of my pocket and toss it over the side. The dog came up to me, but I was relieved that the evidence was gone and didn’t react. After quarters, my buddy told me that the dog came up behind me and sniffed near my pocket and walked away. From this and a couple of other minor experiences, I conclude that 1) smell is part of whether a dog alerts, and 2) your reaction to the dog sniffing around is also a major factor. However, this assumes that the dog is not trained to alert on cue.

        1. The whole idea of dogs being expert _____________ (insert wrongdoing here) sniffer-outer creatures was planted by TeeVee shows in the post-WW2 era. First it was bloodhounds tracking humans in the SE USA, then magically dogs were assumed to be able to sniff out bombs, guns, weed, and moonshine makings.

          Next thing we know, someone will provide the new fantasy that dogs are like the Pre-Cogs in Minority Report, able to sniff out criminal intent.

          I really like dogs, but you know, a dog will do most anything to please the human(s) with which it bonds.

    10. Not only unreliable but able to be manipulated by the handler and unable to be confronted as an accuser.

      1. The second part of lost opportunity to confront an accuser is the most important, but SCOTUS and DOJ and their state-based and locality-based minions don’t give a flying frog’s leg about the 4th or 5th As any more. They’re obstacles to cleaning up America, getting rid of the unwanteds.

        It’s a lot like the movie Common made recently in the UK, written by Jimmy McGovern as a criticism of British Joint Enterprise Liability Law, which in the USA goes by the concept of “conspiracy” liability but is more shapeless.

  4. those extra minutes violated Rodriguez’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.

    What an absurd standard. I’m sure that the lack of a clear, bright line delineating a good search from a bad won’t be abused further.

    1. This.

      “Very well, The police must always travel in packs so there;s no need to wait for backup.”

      1. “We’re only at 6 minutes. I can do whatever the fuck I want to do for another 2.”

  5. What will happen if the cop does the same thing again. Oh yeah, nothing. So what does it matter?

    1. Right, this same cop, whose behavior the Supreme Court just said was unacceptable, will almost certainly do this again. Shooting people is one thing, but shouldn’t being the cop who lost a Supreme Court case at least lead to some kind of discipline?

      1. People do not lose Supreme Court cases. SCOTUS isn’t about person vs person. It’s not a boxing match or fencing match.

        IDEAS lose in SCOTUS decisions. Ideas. Appellate law is about ideas, not people.

  6. I had so little hope that anything would ever pull back the police abuses. Now they have to, at least, regroup and figure out other ways to continue kicking us in the nuts.

    1. I think the justices have been watching the news lately and finally starting to get a slightly more accurate perspective on the police and their relationship to the public.

      1. I think Sotomayor has had an effect as well. She is the only one of the nine who has ever set foot in a trial court. She understands how the police actually operate. I have to believe that she has given a few of them a better understanding of reality.

        1. She is the only one of the nine who has ever set foot in a trial court.

          This is sad (and/or alarming), given the number of criminal justice-oriented complaints that come before the Court.

          1. Civil trial lawyers do not know much about criminal procedure. It’s, y’know, a whole other world within litigation. Just like how most civil litigators don’t do admiralty law or patent practice.

            You shadetree lawyers amuse me.

            1. Civil trial lawyers do not know much about criminal procedure. It’s, y’know, a whole other world within litigation. Just like how most civil litigators don’t do admiralty law or patent practice.

              That is precisely the purpose of her comment. The SC rules on civil and criminal matters despite being composed mainly of civil lawyers.

              You shadetree lawyers amuse me.

              Your amusement is the sole product of your inability to read and comprehend.

              1. That is precisely the purpose of her comment. The SC rules on civil and criminal matters despite being composed mainly of civil lawyers.

                Thanks, but I knew that already. Perhaps you could explain its relevance. Facts are funny, facts are weird, but most of all, facts need context. Please provide some. Kaptious didn’t, and you didn’t either. Get after it if you want me to think you know anything beyond what a 1st year, 1st semester “now I’m an expert!” law student could observe.

                Your amusement is the sole product of your inability to read and comprehend.

                Apparently you think this is a put-down of some kind, but it’s just an ouroboros of nonsense. Good job. You can read someone’s mind through an internet post and discern what they do and don’t comprehend? Did that skill arrive in aerosol form, roll-on, powder, or glide-stick?

            2. Go get a podiatrist to fix your leaky heart valve.

            3. Reading comprehension?

            4. Lawyers are right next to politicians in the hierarchy of HELL. You are part of the system, therefore you are corrupt.

              1. But I’m cool with that if you help me beat the rap, and I’ll pray for your soul after you die if you think it will help.

              2. I know. The real heroes of this little segment of America are Silicon Valley overnight millionaires, entrepeneurs of money-for-nothing confidence rackets, and amateur economists. Everyone else is a loser and an idiot, right? Everyone else loves the state and obviously loves either the Donkeys or the Elephants, right? Gosh, your prescience is astounding!

                1. don’t forget German generals

      2. I think the justices have been watching the news lately and finally starting to get a slightly more accurate perspective on the police and their relationship to the public.

        In a way, I hope you’re right, because that means we the people can still force government in the direction of liberty.

        OTOH, what does it say about the principles of these shitbags to begin with. They are supposed to be thinking about how their interpretations can be misused when they rule in favor of more government power. IOW, we should have never gotten to this point in the first place.

        Instead of deferring to the will of the legislature, their mandate should fall to limiting government power…always.

        1. Yeah right. SCOTUS members “watch the news” because “the news” is so informative.

          At least you didn’t do a dum-dum and suggest that SCOTUS members are changing their views because of your posts at Hit&Run; comment threads.

          1. *sniff, sniff*

            Rude, arrogant….’tis troll alright, but what species?

            1. It’s very smart! Just ask it.

              1. lawyerus bullshittus the worst kind, might as well talk to a fart.

            2. Rude, arrogant….’tis troll alright, but what species?

              Saint Francis of I’mEasy is the smug arrogant one, I’m just holding a mirror up to his pathetic tiny ego’s projection of greatness via smug. Perhaps St Francis would like to demonstrate why he’s always smugging it up, but hating when someone one-ups his smug in satirical jest.

              1. So youre planning to indulge us in some satire?

          2. Awwww, the wittle troll is angry.

            1. Francisco is rather perturbed, yes. I know this because I say it’s true. Sorta like you just did. Good projection job! When does your bulb get changed?

          3. I think the term “watching the news” was meant to mean that the police have been particularly out front with all the abuses they’ve committed recently. These are abuses that have received public attention in a wide variety of media, not just that which is “watched” on TV.

            1. I’m pretty sure the Supremes do not think of themselves as possibly troubled by police misbehavior, regardless of whether it makes the rounds on twitter, instagram, facebook, or the hallowed halls of Hit&Run;.

              I suppose you’d know better though, since you were on the Bench yourself, right Justice Fantasy?

  7. I really hate being on the same side as Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor (“Leave it to Beaver”).

    1. I don’t care who’s on my side, as long as they’re on my side. Well, excepting Hitler, of course… but history shows we wouldn’t have been on the same side of any argument I can think of.

      1. Hitler liked dogs. Do you like dogs?

        1. He killed his own dog. Was afraid he might blab.

        2. Dogs are all right if properly cooked and served in the right sauce.

        3. Do you know who else liked dogs?

      2. What self-respecting person could dislike Wagner?

        1. His music is better than it sounds.

          1. I didn’t know Robert Wagner was a musician. I did love ‘Hart to Hart’ though.

          2. I only like the stuff he wrote for “Apocalypse Now”.

      3. Yesterday was Hitler’s birthday. I saw a bunch of hippies on the TV out getting stoned and celebrating it. It’s a big thing for them every year.

    2. I like the right decision being made.

      And Sotomayor has been consistently pretty good on criminal justice cases. She’s probably about the best we could have hoped for from Obama.

      1. Yeah never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, even when the good is 0.001% of the “good” category, and even when “good” is redefined as “well, at least they’re not murdering me right now.”

    3. Don’t delude yourself, Candyman.

      Ginsburg Kagan & Sotomayor will happily trample YOUR rights given the chance.

      1. Ginsburg Kagan & Sotomayor will happily trample YOUR rights given the chance.

        Sotomayor is better than the other two on criminal justice issues, and no worse than them on other issues. That makes her, on the net, better than the other two. Obama deserves no praise for appointing her, because there are far better choices, but insofar as he was going to pick someone odious anyway, he could have done a lot worse.

        1. You say this from what perspective? Ignorance, but unaware of its hold on your outlook?

  8. Look for.traffic stops to take longer and longer. New procedures will be instituted to extend the time of a “normal” traffic stop. For officer safety.

    1. ^This. And while the courts may eventually rule against those new measures it will take years for test cases to go through the courts, and lots of people will plead out to just make this go away.

    2. As long as officers face no consequences for their actions, these rulings don’t matter a bit. They’ll just keep doing what they do, knowing it’s against the law, and nothing else will happen. Despite several court rulings, cops still routinely confiscate cameras when they don’t want to be recorded. Often the result is a successful lawsuit and taxpayer funded payout, but nothing ever happens to the cops. They just keep breaking the law because they can.

      1. ^This, also.

      2. ^ This. Without any consequences to the cops, nothing will ever change.

        1. Almost got it, WTF. Let’s add some clarity.

          Without any real, meaningful consequences to cops — consequences that actually punish them for their wrongdoing (such as, removing them from badge&gun; service and levying a fine that cripples them fiscally) — nothing will ever change.

            1. His is the superior intellect.

              1. Do we laugh at it now or wait?

                1. Come on, give it some credit for a good post.

                  1. WTF had already make the good post.

                    oobins just thought the rest of us were too stupid to get the gjist of WTF’s post so his intellect was needed to expand on the details to hoi polli.

                    1. Sorta like St Francis of I’mEasy, or Viscount Jewish, Layer of Buns.

          1. oobins|4.21.15 @ 11:56AM|#

            Almost got it, WTF. Let’s add some clarity.”

            After reading posts here for some time I can assure you that most everyone here is smart enough that they already “got it” and didn’t need your “clarity”. Myself, and I think others here, already knew what sort of consequences WTF was referring to.

            What’s it like thinking that you are so much smarter than everyone around you ?

            From our perepective it makes you the true dumbass.

            You may not be Tulpa, or Tony, Or Bo, but in the few post of yours I have read you come across as the same type of asshole so you might as well be.

            1. How do you know what I think?

              More importantly, how do you know anything about anyone who types a comment?

              Wait. Don’t tell me. Internet commentary is better and more reliable than anything you can find in person, right? And everyone who talks pompously as if they know everything –here, or anywhere on the internet– they should get a free pass on their high-and-mighty status projection, right? Except me — and since you don’t know me, you just assume I’m a pwoggo, libby, whatever and pinch-hitting for Dave Weigel or some other squishy pundit or pundit-wannabe who loves the state more than he/she loves freedom. Right? Because hell, I must be serious when I type a smug comment, I can’t be cracking on someone else being smug while offering idiotic tail-chasing nonsense — can I?

              Please do continue in this vein. I think there’s some clay up ahead.

  9. It’s an interesting coalition. I haz a sad that Thomas didn’t join in. Did he write a dissent?

    1. He did. Basically said that there was no 4th amendment violation here, nope, nothing to see here, cops should be able to take as long as they want to manufacture probable cause. He also brought in a bit of FYTW saying that because the people in the car looked nervous, the cops had reasonable suspicion and thus they didn’t even need the dog to manufacture probable cause.

      1. I’ve never understood the reverence which some here have for him.

        1. Conservatives usually revere him, so I’m not too surprised.

          1. That’s not shocking since you think there’s a conservative lurking behind every comment.

        2. I actually think if you took the best parts of Thomas and the best parts of Sotomayor, you’d have one hell of a liberty-loving justice. Alas, there those bad parts…

        3. I use to say that when he and scalia disagreed, Thomas was almost always right. But these kind of cases became more common.

          His dissent in Oregon in which he used to rant about the Raich majority was great.

          1. Raich was one of those cases where my buddies had to take my con law book from out of my hands for fear that I would beat myself unconscious with it.

        4. He’s very good on 1A issues. Not many others, though.

        5. Oh, also his dissent on Kelo was a classic.

      2. Why would you look nervous with the cops behind you?

      3. Why would anyone be nervous when confronted by an armed agent of the State who is sanctioned by the State to commit violence and murder upon you? That’s a real puzzler, that is.

        1. And even if you aren’t worried about that, which a lot of people (foolishly) are not, there is plenty of reason to be nervous about getting a ticket or having to waste an hour having these assholes tear your car apart on the side of the road.

      4. Who the fuck isn’t at least a little bit nervous when stopped by police. Even if you are the biggest cop lover in the world, and the cop acts completely appropriately and professionally, getting stopped sucks. And even if you have nothing to hide, getting searched really sucks since they have no regard for your property and it is a giant waste of time.
        The idea that trying to avoid contact with police or being nervous around police is suspicious is absurd.

        1. You see why Officer Wedgie comes at you as if you are a Domestic Terrorist.

          “Suspect was nervous and had averted eyes and shaking hands. Clearly guilty of something, in my professional opinion.”

          1. The last time I got pulled over the cop asked me “whether I had anything in the car that could hurt him” because I looked so nervous. Said no. He asked permission to search. I said no. I remain shocked that I didn’t end up in handcuffs for that.

            1. I wouldn’t even know how to answer that question. “Well, I could jam my keys in your eye, break this glass of tea and cut you with the shards, strangle you with my bare hands, or kick you in the nuts.”

              1. Strangle you with a seat belt, beat you with a tire iron. I guess the tires are under pressure. You could pop one and hurt your self. You might be able to burn yourself on the engine block if you really wanted to. I don’t recommend drinking or eating anything in the car if you value your health…

                How far into the list would you get before Officer Friendly considered it threatening?

              2. “I’ll kill you with my tea cup.”

      5. “He also brought in a bit of FYTW saying that because the people in the car looked nervous, the cops had reasonable suspicion ”

        Such a ruling would effectively negate the probable cause and reasonable suspicion standards, simply because there is no standard on what constitutes “being nervous”.

  10. According to the majority opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan,

    That is an odd collection of Justices.

    1. SCOTUS is like a box of chocolates…

    2. Not really, Scalia goes with the liberals on 4th Amendment issues some and Roberts often crossed ‘sides.’

      1. I think of it as the liberals going with Scalia. Its a rare support for originalism for them.

      2. Fuck off slaver

  11. I suppose we’ll have to endure rants from the usual sources about how this is handcuffing law enforcement and endangering our heroic police and will lead to the utter destruction of civilization. Even though they will, as db points out above, simply “adjust” their traffic stop procedures to get around this ruling.

  12. Cops: “Well, it looks like we need to make dog sniffs and ordinary part of a traffic stop.”

      1. ANGER.

        This was my thought as well.

  13. Is there a summary of the descent anywhere? I wonder why Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas were opposed to this, particularly Kennedy.

    1. Thomas dissented? He really knows how to disappoint.

      1. I didn’t see his name in the list of the majority, and the case was noted as being decided 6-3, so I assumed that he didn’t concur in with a separate opinion. Maybe I’m wrong, that is why I was looking for a descent summary.

        1. They are devo.

      2. Thomas has this really weird knee-jerk subservience to authority figures. I wonder if it’s the result of growing up black in the Jim Crow south.

        1. It’s just Thomas being Thomas. If he were white would you think it’s because of Jim Crow laws? Don’t be ignorant. Like many who rise to the ranks of SCOTUS or US Atty Genl, he’s a ladder-climber and he saw which ladder was the surest route to the pinnacles he wanted to reach. There are many such ladders in DC. Clarence Thomas chose the one where he basically identified intellectually and practically as colorless, despite his rather dark complexion and apparent African heritage. It’s like the Nebraska accent.

    2. It’s only about 13 pages total. But basically, they said that the stop was not unreasonably long. Thomas/Alito (but not Kennedy) also said that it didn’t matter whether or not the stop was unreasonably long, because the people in the car were nervous, which in their minds gave rise to reasonable articulable suspicion against the people in the car and allowed the stop to be extended. Alito also filed his own dissent, calling the decision “perverse” and that the officer in question had a right to extend the stop to wait for backup because ossifer safety.

      1. Officer safety? Did the original case identify what the officer claimed was the source of concern for his safety??? A jittery driver isn’t necessarily a danger to a cop, not to mention the fact that looking “nervous” is pretty subjective. Thomas and Alito massively disappoint this time… What did Kennedy have to say?

        1. A cop is far more dangerous to a jittery driver than a jittery driver is to a cop.

        2. Officer safety ?

          He should have let them go about their business.

      2. Who isn’t nervous? Even if you are just thinking “I hope he doesn’t give me a ticket”, there is plenty of reason to be nervous when stopped by the police.

      3. 99% of the time, the safest thing an officer can do is release his detainee. This is obvious. Also, the District Court found there was no reasonable suspicion required to continue the detention. Alito can suck it.

    3. Is there a summary of the descent anywhere?

      I know they went pretty low but that’s about,it.

      1. What Thomas harped on was that the court was essentially punishing the trooper who stopped the car because the trooper did the reasonable thing and called in for backup instead of doing the unreasonable thing and conducting the sniff without the aid of another trooper.

  14. “We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,”
    .
    Yeah. I feel better, now.

    1. At least she admits that they’ve been doing that for decades.

  15. I look forward to the day when drug sniffing dogs are declared obsolete under 9A and get to retire to good homes.

    1. They will be replaced by particulate sensor programmed to detect everything from gunpowder residue to any kind of narcotics, prescription medication. If not restricted, tech advances in law enforcement will strangle us all.

  16. This is some derpbook vomit making the rounds.

    1. Just replace Gene Wilder’s pic with the pic of some innocent person sold down the river by the justice system. There are plenty to choose from.

      1. Nice. Maybe an escaped slave?

    2. It’s better just to respond with a picture of Cartman telling these copsuckers to “Respect mah authoritah!”

      When you boil those “don’t break the law and you won’t get shot” memes down, it’s nothing but an admission that these people believe that whoever has the biggest guns can make and enforce the rules.

  17. Even though they will, as db points out above, simply “adjust” their traffic stop procedures to get around this ruling.
    .
    No “adjustment” necessary.
    Those fine, brave warriors are out there on the front lines, fighting for the safety of weak-kneed ComSymps like you. They don’t have time to read the latest treason emanating from some airy fairy ivory tower legal theorists. IT’S A WAR OUT THERE!

    1. As sarcasmic said above, if the cops do this again nothing will happen. If a particular department starts doing this consistently then a court might decide to stop them, but its not likely. And didn’t the court recently rule that an officer’s ignorance of the law is a perfectly good excuse for stopping people who have done nothing wrong?

  18. No big deal. They got an address of the driver’s license. The drug dogs will be along at their convience, approximately 2 AM.

  19. Thomas dissented? He really knows how to disappoint.
    .
    Seriously? Why would you bother to act surprised? Thomas wants to allow the drug warriors unimpeded access to your every orifice.

    1. We’re gonna find out who put that pubic hair on the coke can! Fourth and Fifth Amendments are obstacles to finding the unsub/perpetrator!

    2. Isn’t Thomas the one who said it was okay for a school to strip search a 13 year old girl to look for Advil or something?

      1. Yup. The only dissent, iirc.

      2. Clarence Thomas is the Barack Obama of the SCOTUS. Get a black man to do what the loopy ignorant whites would call “racist” (or whatever) if a white man did it. In the case of Obama he brings more Bush/Cheney despite blah blah hopeandchange blah blah con law professor blah blah. In the case of Thomas he’s just there to offer token nonwhite agree/disagree as the context requires.

  20. Good news.

  21. hope glimmers…then is crushed by the Reason commenters. -sigh-

  22. it didn’t matter whether or not the stop was unreasonably long, because the people in the car were nervous, which in their minds gave rise to reasonable articulable suspicion

    If you’re NOT speeding, a cop may reasonably suspect you are engaged in some sort of nefarious activity, and are actively seeking to evade his entirely justified investigative scrutiny.
    All your peasant are belong to us.

    1. Officer Wedgie suspects everyone is guilty of something, and it’s his job to find out exactly what.

  23. Thank gawd the routine traffic stop remains otherwise approved, and shapelessly defined. We must be reminded always that our Overlords and their Protectors need to assert their authority randomly.

    1. The very fact that there is such concept as a “routine stop” by police, absent a report or gross evidence of a crime in the area, is indicative of how low we have sunk.

      1. I know you are much smarter than the rest of us and you went to law school and everything but I think “routine stop” refers to originating from a run of the mill traffic violation stop.

        I await your response informing me of my ignorance and your brilliance.

        1. I think “routine stop” refers to originating from a run of the mill traffic violation stop.

          Well done, sufficiently vague. Please be more precise about where it originates. Maybe ask Radley Balko, he seems to think himself the wizard on these issues. Or perhaps Orin Kerr. Both of those dudes are considered top shelf at jurisprudence, right?

          Wait. I think you’re about to unleash some really catty snark. Maybe that’s where your expertise comes from? Being gay? Since we all know that gay men love cops, so that must mean they know The Law more like insiders, right?

          I await your response informing me of my ignorance and your brilliance.

          You know how someone knows you’re dumber than you pretend? Your writing skills. Thanks for the admissions. When you have time, please explain more about “routine stops” and then go on to demonstrate what exactly I don’t understand about the notion.

          Thanks. A lot.

          1. Holy freakshow, that damned simple html is obviously beyond my skills as an alleged hater of liberty and obvious confuser of H&R regulars who need bright lines and/or known team players in order to understand a post.

            Old smart-less-un-aleck OneOut’s remarks should be easily discerned since I cut-and-pasted his brilliant witty snark verbatim.

    2. If you weren’t suck a dick in the beginning, folks might have listened to you. You have some good posts from what I see so far.

      1. That’s what I said to Radley Balko when I met him. He just stomped his foot, frowned, and called his mother.

    3. See, this is where I think I disagree with most people on this board. Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in this country, and many of those accidents are caused by idiots. I wish the cops would spend less time looking for drugs and more time pulling over the asshole risking everyone’s lives, or the people driving down my street who don’t think they need to stop when the school bus puts out the stop sign.

      1. “See, this is where I think I disagree with most people on this board. Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in this country, and many of those accidents are caused by idiots”

        I thought it was Global Warming.

        Not sure what the rest of your post has to do with the topic at hand.

  24. Do now the drug dogs ce outed irately so as not to prolong the stop . Pigs learn.

    Et tu, Clarence?

    1. F autocorrect!!

      1. I feel your auto corrected pain.

  25. This is part of a whole pile of BS taking place in Nebraska. Rural counties are mounting an offensive against the legalization of weed in CO. The argument goes something like this: we HAVE to stop people speeding through our jurisdiction; then we HAVE to stick our heads inside the car because everyone inside the car is toking up; then we HAVE to bust them for having drugs; then we HAVE to lock them up in our county jails.

    Ergo, one of two things must happen: (i) Colorado must stop its experiment with with weed OR (ii) we need more money to expand our county jails.

    This is the impetus behind NE suing CO. Fortunately, a lot (not all) Nebraskans are calling BS on this whole argument.

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  27. Awesome! About time SCOTUS.

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  29. Let the record show that JJ. Thomas*, Kennedy, and Alioto dissented. Also, can’t the Court buy Ginzberg a phone book to sit on? If they still have such things?

    *Thomas loves the Constitution, but he loves dogs more.

  30. The days when libertarians made excuses from Clarence Thomas seem to have faded.

  31. I dislike this opinion. While it led to the “correct” result, there is no clear line/guidance that lower courts will be able to adhere to.

    Was calling for backup the violation? Or was it because the backup was too far away? Are there “traffic stops” that can justify an 8 minute wait? What about a 10 minute wait? Would a 3 minute wait have been fine and dandy? 5 minutes?

    Ugh.

  32. What about Kennedy? Doesn’t he throw us a bone here and there?

  33. Where’s the case against seat belt and helmet laws?

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  36. Does this mean the end of illegal searches based on false pretenses by the road pirates with their dogs?

  37. OMG, without the ability to sniff cars for drugs, the entire social construct is in peril.

  38. It’s a decision written by RBG so We should all be automatically opposed.

    Dear reason, am I being kicked off? I couldn’t log in with my iPad, but managed to get on with my iPhone. Was it the whole “wetback” thing. Sorry, guys, I was wasted and in a foul mood. Can I be on the libertarian naughty list under probation? One thousand pages of Murray Rothbard for you, commie.

    1. Oh good, the problem was on my end. I like you right-wingers so finding this out made my day. It really is the small things.

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  41. Strikes me that The Court majority got that decision right.

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