D.Nev.: Questioning passengers about names and DOBs during parking violation stop excessive

Questioning passengers for their IDs or birthdates in a stop for a parking violation was a detour from the mission of the stop under Rodriguez. United States v. McCowan, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126194 (D. Nev. July 7, 2021):

This case presents the question of whether extending a parking-violation car stop, in order to obtain identifying information from the passengers, impermissibly prolongs the stop so as to taint the entire seizure and require suppression of its fruits. The Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Rodriguez v. United States established that police conduct that exceeds the narrow mission of a traffic stop and “adds time to” the stop “violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.” The officer here took a 40-second detour from his investigation of the driver to ask the passengers for identification-which they lacked-and then for their names and birthdates, purportedly for officer safety, before running the driver’s information and discovering that he had violated sex-offender registration laws. That violation led to his arrest, an inventory search of the car, and the discovery of two firearms for which he now faces a felon-in-possession charge. The driver moves to suppress those guns, arguing inter alia that the officer’s questioning of the passengers impermissibly extended the stop. Because the Ninth Circuit, in applying Rodriguez, has held that such passenger inquiries are not part of the mission of a traffic stop and do not foster officer safety, and the government has shown no other basis to avoid exclusion, I grant the motion to suppress.

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