D.S.C.: Considering the totality, there was no RS for defs’ detention for a dog sniff

“After consideration of the testimony presented during multiple lengthy suppression hearings, a thorough analysis of the relevant caselaw, and a careful review of the dashcam video of the traffic stop, the court grants the motion to suppress. The court finds that there was no reasonable suspicion to prolong the traffic stop to conduct the free-air dog sniff as required under Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015). Furthermore, even if the officers did have reasonable suspicion to prolong the traffic stop, the drug dog Rao (‘Rao’) did not ‘alert.’ And finally, even if Rao did ‘alert,’ the court finds that Rao was unreliable under Florida v. Harris, 568 U.S. 237 (2013) such that its ‘alert’ did not establish probable cause to search the vehicle.” The government proffered numerous things as reasonable suspicion, and, considering them all, they are explainable, and there was no reasonable suspicion on the totality. United States v. Diaz, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58775 (D. S.C. Apr. 6, 2018)”

This court recognizes and gives appropriate weight to the officers’ assessment of certain circumstances based on their training and experience. However, it also reiterates the warning of courts before it, that the government cannot “simply proffer ‘whatever facts are present, no matter how innocent, as indicia of suspicious activity.'” United States v. Foster, 634 F.3d 243, 248 (4th Cir. 2011). And like courts before it, this court has concerns about “the way in which the Government attempts to spin … mundane acts into a web of deception.” Id. The court therefore holds that under Rodriguez, there was no reasonable suspicion to extend an otherwise completed traffic stop such that the dog sniff could be executed. Defendants’ motion to suppress is granted on this ground alone. And as explained below, even if the officers had reasonable suspicion to prolong the traffic stop, Rao was not reliable such that its positive “alert” constituted probable cause to conduct the search of the car.

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