15 May 2015

Rodriguez v. United States

     The United States Supreme Court decided Rodriguez v. United States on 21 April 2015.  It is a good case.  The Iowa State Interdiction Team and presumably, the highway patrols of other states, stop out-of-state vehicles for minor infractions for the purpose of finding drugs.  The vehicles stopped are the customary  suspects--Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California.  But vehicles licensed in other states also draw attention of the Interdiction Team so don't be complaisant.  Iowa's Team has dogs for the sole purpose of dog sniffs or finding drugs.  Prior to 21 April 2015, the defense to a drug sniff was the time of the wait for the dog to arrive.  Since a traffic stop should be brief, a lengthy wait for a dog was not reasonable.  The Court in Rodriquez, however, decided the time of the wait was irrelevant.  The office requesting the dog must have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.  Being a man of color in a rental car from a west coast state is no longer enough.  You can bet that any officer worth his salary will be able to come up with something to say he had reasonable suspicion, but it is better than it was.