It’s elegant, if about as honest as expected, how Thomas smoothly shifts from the actual standard(probable cause) to a standard with no basis whatsoever in law(how tedious and/or lengthy the without-probable-cause search is), and then makes a snarky argument from there.
In a totally different universe, where the fourth amendment guarantees that we shall be secure in our persons, papers, and effects from unreasonably tedious search and seizure; that’d be a fairly compelling argument. As it is, it’s just a non-sequitur in a baggy black robe.
I wonder how long Thomas thinks people should wait. An hour? Is that reasonable to him?
I’d love to make him wait eight minutes while the police get a dog. I wonder how he’d feel then.
What’s more astonishing to me is Scalia apparently sided with the majority. I always thought it was Antonin’s hand moving the Thomas puppet around from behind the robe.
“The dog detected drugs” is not really informative. Does the dog ever fail to signal a hit?
Did the police also find methamphetamine, or did the dog just alert? If there were actual drugs in the car, and their discovery is ruled inadmissible, it’s a bit marginal.
I’d feel less comfortable with the decision if the dog had smelt a body in the trunk
Honestly, I already thought this was the law, but then, I went to a shitty law school.
Yes, during D.A.R.E. class.
I can’t imagine how this case made it to the Supreme Court. I thought this was settled law several centuries ago. Is there some nuance of “probable cause” that had never been tested in court? Or is it just the unique combination of 21st Century, War on Drugs plus Latino defendant? Wait, no, that’s probably happened before.
That was a strange edit of Thomas’ dissent:
“But because [the police officer] made [the suspect] wait for seven or eight extra minutes until a dog arrived, he evidently committed a constitutional violation. Such a view of the Fourth Amendment makes little sense.”
Doesn’t make much sense without the context in previous sentence paragraph:
Had Officer Struble arrested, handcuffed, and taken Rodriguez to the police station for his traffic violation, he would have complied with the Fourth Amendment.
Is it normal to take someone to the station for a traffic violation? There was no indication of him being under the influence. To me, that statement is using absurdity to justify his thinking.
Edit to add: I guess you CAN arrest people for minor traffic infractions, but I also found this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_v._Gant which seems to be relevant here…while they could have arrested him for the purpose of searching his car, it would have been unconstitutional.
Thomas’ point was that the majority believes that a) the officer violated the suspect’s rights when it detained him for 10 minutes to do the drug search, but b) the officer wouldn’t have been violating the suspect’s rights if he had simply arrested the suspect for the traffic violation and done the same search back at the police station.
One interpretation of the ruling is that police should simply arrest people more frequently for traffic violations where they suspect drugs might be in the car, which is in some ways more onerous than allowing police to detain people for a few minutes to get the drug dog (presumably staff levels will prevent widespread adoption of such a tactic).
OTOH, still weird that drug dogs are allowed at all given all the evidence that they don’t provide accurate independent confirmation of drugs.
Nino Scalia has always been pretty strong on the Fourth Amendment.
Also, there’s as much identical thinking on the left of the court as there is on the right – these numbers are a little misleading as there are a whole bunch of cases that end up going 9-0, but, it’s worth a read if you mean to stick by that trope.
There was an episode of “Law & Order” where the detectives, while waiting for a warrant, inserted a toothpick in the suspect’s apartment door lock to keep him from entering and possibly destroying evidence. In that fictional case the judge ruled the act of tampering with the lock was illegal, and is somewhat mirrored here.
That said, there are a lot of aspects of this case that are troubling, no matter how the court ruled. Why ask for permission to search the car with a dog, if you’re going to do it anyway? If Thomas is nit-picking over “seven or eight minutes” that the suspect was detained, well, why not seven or eight hours? Where exactly is the point where it becomes unreasonable? Then there is the use of dogs, who can provide evidence against you, but who can’t be cross-examined in court, and who have been shown to be unreliable.
Whenever the handler signals the dog not to.
In my bike messenger days, I used to work and play with lots of herb on me. The drug dogs always went nuts when I was around, and the cops just laughed. Apparently it was a running gag that they couldn’t be bothered chasing us down for the stuff.
Im guessing you are caucasian.
I could pass for caucasian to some. Which isn’t very relevant, Boston messengers of that time at least were as diverse a crowd as you could hope for, and many, if not most, were holding something. Including quite a few rastas who were never hassled either. My guess is that the PD only ever had K9 units downtown because they were on their way out to where the “real” busts were.
I wish someone would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the validity of alerts by drug-sniffing dogs. They are evidently less reliable than a coin toss. If you’re Latino, then the dogs are a lot less reliable than a coin toss.