OH2: Officer didn’t delay the stop for drug dog; it arrived two minutes into the stop [and effectively coerced consent]

While the stopping officer was running background checks, a second officer with a drug dog arrived, and the first officer asked for consent to search, planning to use the drug dog if consent was denied. The trial court held that this extended the stop, but the appellate court doesn’t agree. The total time of the stop was 12-15 minutes at 2 am. State v. Mee, 2017-Ohio-7343, 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 3635 (2d Dist. Aug. 25, 2017):

[*P20] Here, the record demonstrates that Officer Spinks diligently pursued his traffic-related investigation and did not unreasonably prolong the period of Mee’s detention. He had a brief initial discussion with Mee and immediately returned to his cruiser to run background checks on Mee and the two passengers in Mee’s vehicle. Tr. of Hr’g 141-143. At approximately the same time, Officer Maloney arrived to provide backup. Officer Spinks had not requested a K-9 unit, meaning that he did not keep Mee waiting for a K-9 unit to arrive. Id. at 64-65.

[*P21] After running background checks, Officer Spinks decided to ask Mee for permission to search his vehicle, or in the alternative, to have Officer Maloney and Jax conduct a free-air sniff, which would not have implicated the Fourth Amendment. He did not delay after completing the background checks, but instead promptly returned to Mee’s vehicle and requested consent for a search. Mee had been detained between five and ten minutes by that time. Tr. of Hr’g 130-131 and 143-144. Upon Mee’s refusal to consent to a search, Officer Spinks asked him to exit his vehicle for a free-air sniff and requested his consent to a pat-down search for weapons.

[*P22] At that point in the stop, 12 to 15 minutes had passed. Id. at 148. Although Officer Spinks had not yet prepared a written traffic citation, the record strongly supports the conclusion that the stop would have taken essentially the same amount of time had Officer Spinks simply begun writing a ticket immediately after he finished the background checks on Mee and the two passengers. In other words, at the time Officer Spinks received Mee’s consent for a pat-down, the stop had not extended beyond the time that would otherwise reasonably have been required to complete the “‘mission of issuing a ticket for the [traffic] violation.’” Rodriguez v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 1609, 1612, 191 L.Ed.2d 492 (2015), quoting Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 407, 125 S.Ct. 834, 160 L.Ed.2d 842 (2005).

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