US Supreme Court limits drug dog sniffs on roadside

The use of drug-detecting dogs on the side of the road during traffic stops has become increasingly popular in Mississippi and elsewhere in America. This week in the case of Dennys Rodriguez v. United States, Docket No. 13-9972, the United States Supreme Court further curtailed the use drug-detecting dogs during traffic stops. Under Rodriguez, officers are to complete the traffic stop in the time it would ordinarily take to do so. For instance, a stop for speeding should not take longer than the amount of time it takes for the officer to address the driver, check for warrants, and issue the ticket. Far too often, officers have conducted a traffic stop in a very lengthy fashion, drawing it out for purposes of getting drug dogs to the scene. That was what happened in Rodriguez, as Rodriguez was kept on the side of the road for an additional 8 minutes after the citation had already been written so that the dog could arrive.

The language in Rodriguez leads me (and at least one other observer) to believe that the Supreme Court may well soon stop treating dogs differently than other means of effecting a search. Interesting times ahead in Fourth Amendment land….

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