Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nebraska Supreme Court retains "reasonable suspicion" test and rejects Eighth Circuit's "de minimis" test for detaining suspects the police stop for traffic violations longer for conducting Illinois v Caballes drug dog sweeps, but if it wanted to make it stick it should have ruled on state law. State v. Louthan, S-07-593, 275 Neb. 101 Norfolk area police and state patrolmen stopped a driver whom they suspected of selling methamphetamine for expired plates and making an improper turn. After the police officer completed his traffic stop he requested the suspect remain to have a drug dog sniff the vehicle. After two sweeps the dog detected methamphetamine and the police found the narcotics in the defendant's wallet. The sniff, search and recovery of the drugs took an additional 12 minutes after the end of the traffic stop. Nebraska Supreme Court affirms search finding that the police had reasonable suspicion to detain the suspect beyond the time police needed to complete the traffic stop. a suspect for further drug dog surveillance after completing a traffic stop. While the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in similar cases allowed very brief "deminimis" detentions after completed traffic stops (See eg US v Alexander 05-3378 (2006) {four minutes was a de minimis detention}), the Nebraska Supreme Court holds that the United States Supreme Court ruling in Illinois v Caballes requires "reasonable suspicion" to detain suspects as soon as the traffic stop concludes. "there is a constitutionally significant line of demarcation between a routine traffic stop and one in which a dog sniff is conducted after the investigative procedures incident to the traffic stop have been completed.We agree that “the threshold questionis whether the officer had an appropriate basis upon which to detain the citizen” after concluding the routine traffic stop. We conclude that the “reasonable suspicion” test is the appropriate, necessary, and correct standard for resolving that question."

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