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Rodriguez v. United States

United States Supreme Court
135 S.Ct. 1609, 575 U.S. 348 (2015)

Rodriguez v. United States


A Nebraska K-9 police officer conducted a traffic stop of Dennys Rodriguez (defendant) at 12:06 a.m. after Rodriquez drove his vehicle onto the shoulder of a highway in violation of state law. The officer questioned Rodriguez and his passenger and collected their driver’s licenses, as well as the vehicle registration and proof of insurance. The officer requested backup, ran background checks of both men, and issued both men written warnings. The officer then requested permission to walk his dog around the vehicle, but Rodriguez refused. At 12:33 a.m., seven or eight minutes after the warnings were issued and backup arrived, the officer led his dog around the vehicle. The dog indicated a hit, the vehicle was searched, and drugs were found in the vehicle. Rodriguez was convicted in federal district court on charges brought by the United States government (plaintiff), and his suppression motion was denied by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The court based its ruling on Eighth Circuit precedent that permitted drug sniffs within a short time after completion of a traffic stop, as long as the intrusion was deemed to have been de minimis. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Alito, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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