Rodriguez's Case: The Case Of Petitioner Dennys Rodriguez

703 Words 3 Pages
Facts: Petitioner Dennys Rodriguez was pulled over on March 27, 2012, for swerving onto the shoulder of the Nebraska State Highway 275. K-9 officer Struble, from the Valley Police Department approached the vehicle where he saw Dennys Rodriguez sitting on the driver seat and Scott Pollman on the passenger seat. Officer Struble proceeded with the traffic stop and verified Dennys’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. After everything checked out, officer Struble returned to the vehicle and asked the passenger Scott Pollman for his license. Officer Struble returned to his patrol car one more time where he ran a records check on Pollman. During this time, the officer also called for a backup and finish writing a warning ticket for Rodriguez. …show more content…
At this point officer Struble asked Rodriguez for his consent in order to be able to walk his K-9 dog around Rodriguez’s vehicle. After Rodriguez declined, he was detained by the officer. When the second police officer arrived, Struble proceeded to walk his dog around the vehicle and the dog alerted to the presence of drugs. The officer searched the vehicle and found a large bag of methamphetamines. Rodriguez tried to have the evidence suppressed on the grounds that the dog search was a violation of his fourth amendment right to unreasonable seizures. The federal districted court denied his motion; therefore, the evidence was not suppressed. As a result of that decision Rodriguez entered a conditional guilty plea and was given a five year prison sentence. Rodriguez filed an appeal, but the United States appellate court for the eight circuit affirmed. The court held that the brief delay was acceptable when compared to other previous …show more content…
The court held that the use of a k-9 unit after a stop has been completed and without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is indeed a violation of the fourth amendment right. The court relied heavily on the fact that the police stop was extended beyond the point necessary to complete the mission of issuing the ticket for the traffic violation. Justice Ginsburg further points out that the original purpose of the stop was to investigate Rodriguez for the traffic violation. Therefore, officer Struble’s authority to hold Rodriguez ended once the traffic investigation was completed. Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the use of a k-9 unit after the conclusion of a lawful stop does not violate a person’s 4th amendment rights. As long as the stop is conducted reasonably and in this case it was. In addition, he mentions that the officer did have reasonable suspicion to continue to hold Rodriguez therefore, there was no violation of the 4th amendment. Furthermore, Justice Alito argued that the majority judgment’s analysis were arbitrary since they relied on the order of the steps taken by the police

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