Wednesday, March 23, 2016

KYSC - Davis - Dog Sniff Traffic Stop

Thomas Davis v. Commonwealth – SCt, 3/17/2016, to be published. 

In 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that a police officer may not extend a traffic stop—even for a de minimus amount of time--beyond its original purpose for the sole purpose of conducting a dog sniff. Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1609 (2015.

In Davis, the Kentucky Supreme Court followed Rodriguez, supra, and held that a routine traffic stop for a possible intoxicated driver, extended for a dog sniff, violated the Fourth Amendment.

The Court also held:

To the extent that Epps [v. Commonwealth, 295 S.W.3d 807 (Ky. 2009)] and Johnson [v. Commonwealth, 179 S.W.3d 882 (Ky. App. 2005)] suggest otherwise, they are necessarily overruled by our acknowledgement of Rodriguez.

The “key question” is not whether the duration of Appellant’s roadside detention was unreasonable; rather, it is whether the sniff search was related to the purpose for which Appellant was stopped; that is, a DUI traffic stop to ascertain a driver’s sobriety.
Contributed by Julia K. Pearson