D.N.M.: Lifting a bag on an empty bus’s overhead rack to see the name tag was not a search

Travelers have a reasonable expectation of privacy that their luggage will not be manipulated in a way to effectively search it. That does not mean that officers can’t perform a dog sniff or move it without manipulating it. Here, the officer picked up a bag left in the overhead rack to look for a name tag, and the bag’s heft was suspicious. That alone was not unreasonable. United States v. Fernandez, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173287 (D. N.M. Oct. 9, 2018).

“Courts have repeatedly found that the presence of armed officers at the search location and requiring a suspect to be accompanied around the premises does not escalate an interrogation to a degree that makes it custodial.” United States v. Blank, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173470 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 9, 2018).*

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