techdirt: Appeals Court: Driving Attentively While Black Isn’t Probable Cause For A Traffic Stop by Tim Cushing:
The courts have allowed police officers to engage in pretextual traffic stops. Minor moving violations — including some that aren’t actually moving violations — have been used to engage in fishing expeditions for drugs, cash, or evidence of some other criminal activity. The Supreme Court dialed this back a bit with its Rodriguez decision, allowing pretextual stops but forcing them to end once the stop’s objective is complete. When an officer hands out a citation or warning, the person is free to go, no matter how much the officer may want to ask more questions or run a drug dog around the vehicle.
This hasn’t deterred fishing expeditions as much as one might hope. If a drug dog can be summoned while the officer slow-walks paperwork, it will probably be found Constitutional by the courts. And the hopes of netting bigger fish with stops for improper signal use or whatever will never completely die. The risk/reward factor still favors law enforcement, so pretextual stops will continue.