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What Are the Bounds of a Traffic Stop, According to the Supreme Court?

The nation's highest court has ruled that police officers can't draw out a stop for the sole reason of waiting for drug sniffing dogs.
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AP/Rich Pedroncelli

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that police officers cannot prolong traffic stops in order to release the hounds—the drug-sniffing hounds, that is.

In a 6-3 decision, the court found that Nebraska police officers had violated the Fourth Amendment by extending a 2012 traffic stop by less than 10 minutes to allow a drug-sniffing dog to circle a vehicle. The driver, Dennys Rodriguez, had been pulled over for driving on a highway shoulder, and though the investigating officer had a drug-sniffing dog already in his police car, he waited for backup before initiating a drug search. The search revealed that Rodriguez was also in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine.