S.D.Tex.: Single key in the ignition adds nothing to RS

The stop was unreasonably prolonged without reasonable suspicion. All the officer had was nervousness (belied by the video), one passenger had no bag in the car, and a single key was in the ignition. United States v. Flores, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109910 (S.D. Tex. April 4, 2017):

The totality of the circumstances supports a finding that Limon did not develop reasonable suspicion of additional criminal activity. Of the three factual circumstances that the Government cited, only the third one reasonably raised any suspicion. As to the first and second factors: (1) the audio and video evidence suggest that Flores did not behave nervously; (2) given that Flores traveled with two bags of clothing, the fact that she did not possess a suitcase was unremarkable; and (3) the bags’ contents were not suspicious or, if they were, Limon did not learn this information before he completed the stop’s mission. Finally, although the presence of a single key in Flores’s vehicle’s ignition switch fit the profile of a drug courier, this factual condition occurs too frequently among law-abiding travelers to predicate reasonable suspicion singlehandedly. See United States v. Jones, 149 F.3d 364, 369 (5th Cir. 1998). Limon did not develop reasonable suspicion of additional criminal activity before he completed the mission of the traffic stop. Accordingly, he unconstitutionally detained Flores.

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