throbber
(Slip Opinion)
`
`
`
` OCTOBER TERM, 2014
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`1
`
` NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
`
`
`
` being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
`
`
`
` The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
`
` prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
`
` See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`
`
` Syllabus
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
`
`THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
` No. 13–9972. Argued January 21, 2015—Decided April 21, 2015
`
`Officer Struble, a K–9 officer, stopped petitioner Rodriguez for driving
`
`on a highway shoulder, a violation of Nebraska law. After Struble at-
`tended to everything relating to the stop, including, inter alia, check-
`ing the driver’s licenses of Rodriguez and his passenger and issuing a
`warning for the traffic offense, he asked Rodriguez for permission to
`walk his dog around the vehicle. When Rodriguez refused, Struble
`detained him until a second officer arrived. Struble then retrieved
`his dog, who alerted to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. The en-
`suing search revealed methamphetamine. Seven or eight minutes
`elapsed from the time Struble issued the written warning until the
`
`dog alerted.
`
`Rodriguez was indicted on federal drug charges. He moved to sup-
`press the evidence seized from the vehicle on the ground, among oth-
`ers, that Struble had prolonged the traffic stop without reasonable
`suspicion in order to conduct the dog sniff. The Magistrate Judge
`recommended denial of the motion. He found no reasonable suspicion
`supporting detention once Struble issued the written warning. Un-
`der Eighth Circuit precedent, however, he concluded that prolonging
`the stop by “seven to eight minutes” for the dog sniff was only a de
`
`minimis intrusion on Rodriguez’s Fourth Amendment rights and was
`
`for that reason permissible. The District Court then denied the mo-
`tion to suppress. Rodriguez entered a conditional guilty plea and was
`sentenced to five years in prison. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Not-
`ing that the seven or eight minute delay was an acceptable “de mini-
`mis intrusion on Rodriguez’s personal liberty,” the court declined to
`reach the question whether Struble had reasonable suspicion to con-
`tinue Rodriguez’s detention after issuing the written warning.
`Held:
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`
`1. Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop
`in order to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield
`
`against unreasonable seizures.
`
`A routine traffic stop is more like a brief stop under Terry v. Ohio,
`
`392 U. S. 1, than an arrest, see, e.g., Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U. S.
`323, 330. Its tolerable duration is determined by the seizure’s “mis-
`sion,” which is to address the traffic violation that warranted the
`
`
`stop, Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U. S. 405, 407 and attend to related
`
`
`safety concerns. Authority for the seizure ends when tasks tied to
`infraction are—or reasonably should have been—
`the traffic
`completed. The Fourth Amendment may tolerate certain unrelated
`investigations that do not lengthen the roadside detention, Johnson,
`555 U. S., at 327–328 (questioning); Caballes, 543 U. S., at 406, 408
`
`(dog sniff), but a traffic stop “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged be-
`yond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issu-
`
`ing a warning ticket, id., at 407.
`
`
`Beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, an officer’s
`mission during a traffic stop typically includes checking the driver’s
`license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against
`the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of
`insurance. These checks serve the same objective as enforcement of
`the traffic code: ensuring that vehicles on the road are operated safe-
`
`ly and responsibly. See Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648, 658–659.
`Lacking the same close connection to roadway safety as the ordinary
`
`inquiries, a dog sniff is not fairly characterized as part of the officer’s
`
`traffic mission.
`
`
`
`In concluding that the de minimis intrusion here could be offset by
`the Government’s interest in stopping the flow of illegal drugs, the
`
`Eighth Circuit relied on Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U. S. 106. The
`
`
`Court reasoned in Mimms that the government’s “legitimate and
`weighty” interest in officer safety outweighed the “de minimis” addi-
`tional intrusion of requiring a driver, lawfully stopped, to exit a vehi-
`
`cle, id., at 110–111. The officer-safety interest recognized in Mimms,
`however, stemmed from the danger to the officer associated with the
`traffic stop itself. On-scene investigation into other crimes, in con-
`trast, detours from the officer’s traffic-control mission and therefore
`
`gains no support from Mimms.
`
`
`The Government’s argument that an officer who completes all traf-
`fic-related tasks expeditiously should earn extra time to pursue an
`unrelated criminal investigation is unpersuasive, for a traffic stop
`“prolonged beyond” the time in fact needed for the officer to complete
`
`
`
`his traffic-based inquiries is “unlawful,” Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407.
`The critical question is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or af-
`
`ter the officer issues a ticket, but whether conducting the sniff adds
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`2
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`3
`
`time to the stop. Pp. 5–8.
`
`
`2. The determination adopted by the District Court that deten-
`tion for the dog sniff was not independently supported by individual-
` ized suspicion was not reviewed by the Eighth Circuit. That question
`
`therefore remains open for consideration on remand. P. 9.
`741 F. 3d 905, vacated and remanded.
`GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
`C. J., and SCALIA, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. KEN-
`
`
`NEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opin-
`ion, in which ALITO, J., joined, and in which KENNEDY, J., joined as to
`
`all but Part III. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`1
`
`
` NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
`
`
`
` preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
`
` notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash­
`
` ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
`
`
` that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
`
`
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 13–9972
`_________________
`DENNYS RODRIGUEZ, PETITIONER v.
`
`
` UNITED STATES
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
`
`[April 21, 2015]
`
`JUSTICE GINSBURG delivered the opinion of the Court.
`In Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U. S. 405 (2005), this Court
`held that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful traffic stop
`does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of
`unreasonable seizures. This case presents the question
`whether the Fourth Amendment tolerates a dog sniff
`conducted after completion of a traffic stop. We hold that
`a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the
`matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitu­
`tion’s shield against unreasonable seizures. A seizure
`justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, there­
`fore, “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time
`
`reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issuing a
`
`ticket for the violation. Id., at 407. The Court so recog­
`nized in Caballes, and we adhere to the line drawn in that
`decision.
`
`
`
`
`
`I
`Just after midnight on March 27, 2012, police officer
`
`Morgan Struble observed a Mercury Mountaineer veer
`slowly onto the shoulder of Nebraska State Highway 275
`for one or two seconds and then jerk back onto the road.
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`2
`
`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`Opinion of the Court
`Nebraska law prohibits driving on highway shoulders, see
`Neb. Rev. Stat. §60–6,142 (2010), and on that basis, Stru­
`ble pulled the Mountaineer over at 12:06 a.m. Struble is a
`
`K–9 officer with the Valley Police Department in Ne­
`braska, and his dog Floyd was in his patrol car that night.
`
`Two men were in the Mountaineer: the driver, Dennys
`
`Rodriguez, and a front-seat passenger, Scott Pollman.
`
`Struble approached the Mountaineer on the passenger’s
`
`side. After Rodriguez identified himself, Struble asked
`him why he had driven onto the shoulder. Rodriguez
`replied that he had swerved to avoid a pothole. Struble
`then gathered Rodriguez’s license, registration, and proof
`of insurance, and asked Rodriguez to accompany him to
`the patrol car. Rodriguez asked if he was required to do
`so, and Struble answered that he was not. Rodriguez
`decided to wait in his own vehicle.
`
`After running a records check on Rodriguez, Struble
`returned to the Mountaineer. Struble asked passenger
`Pollman for his driver’s license and began to question him
`about where the two men were coming from and where
`they were going. Pollman replied that they had traveled
`to Omaha, Nebraska, to look at a Ford Mustang that was
`for sale and that they were returning to Norfolk, Ne­
`braska. Struble returned again to his patrol car, where he
`completed a records check on Pollman, and called for a
`second officer. Struble then began writing a warning
`ticket for Rodriguez for driving on the shoulder of the
`road.
`
`Struble returned to Rodriguez’s vehicle a third time to
`issue the written warning. By 12:27 or 12:28 a.m., Struble
`had finished explaining the warning to Rodriguez, and
`had given back to Rodriguez and Pollman the documents
`obtained from them. As Struble later testified, at that
`point, Rodriguez and Pollman “had all their documents
`back and a copy of the written warning. I got all the
`reason[s] for the stop out of the way[,] . . . took care of all
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`3
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`the business.” App. 70.
`Nevertheless, Struble did not consider Rodriguez “free
`
`to leave.” Id., at 69–70. Although justification for the
`traffic stop was “out of the way,” id., at 70, Struble asked
`
`for permission to walk his dog around Rodriguez’s vehicle.
`Rodriguez said no. Struble then instructed Rodriguez to
`turn off the ignition, exit the vehicle, and stand in front of
`the patrol car to wait for the second officer. Rodriguez
`complied. At 12:33 a.m., a deputy sheriff arrived. Struble
`retrieved his dog and led him twice around the Moun­
`taineer. The dog alerted to the presence of drugs halfway
`through Struble’s second pass. All told, seven or eight
`minutes had elapsed from the time Struble issued the
`written warning until the dog indicated the presence of
`drugs. A search of the vehicle revealed a large bag of
`
`methamphetamine.
`Rodriguez was indicted in the United States District
`
`Court for the District of Nebraska on one count of posses­
`sion with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth­
`amphetamine, in violation of 21 U. S. C. §§841(a)(1) and
`(b)(1). He moved to suppress the evidence seized from his
`car on the ground, among others, that Struble had pro­
`longed the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion in
`order to conduct the dog sniff.
`
`After receiving evidence, a Magistrate Judge recom­
`mended that the motion be denied. The Magistrate Judge
`found no probable cause to search the vehicle independent
`of the dog alert. App. 100 (apart from “information given
`by the dog,” “Officer Struble had [no]thing other than a
`rather large hunch”). He further found that no reasonable
`suspicion supported the detention once Struble issued the
`written warning. He concluded, however, that under
`Eighth Circuit precedent, extension of the stop by “seven
`to eight minutes” for the dog sniff was only a de minimis
`intrusion on Rodriguez’s Fourth Amendment rights and
`
`was therefore permissible.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`4
`
`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`Opinion of the Court
`The District Court adopted the Magistrate Judge’s
`
`factual findings and legal conclusions and denied Rodri­
`guez’s motion to suppress. The court noted that, in the
`Eighth Circuit, “dog sniffs that occur within a short time
`following the completion of a traffic stop are not constitu­
`tionally prohibited if they constitute only de minimis
`intrusions.” App. 114 (quoting United States v. Alexander,
`448 F. 3d 1014, 1016 (CA8 2006)). The court thus agreed
`with the Magistrate Judge that the “7 to 10 minutes”
`added to the stop by the dog sniff “was not of constitu­
`tional significance.” App. 114. Impelled by that decision,
`Rodriguez entered a conditional guilty plea and was sen­
`tenced to five years in prison.
`The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The “seven- or eight-
`
`minute delay” in this case, the opinion noted, resembled
`delays that the court had previously ranked as permissi­
`ble. 741 F. 3d 905, 907 (2014). The Court of Appeals thus
`ruled that the delay here constituted an acceptable “de
`minimis intrusion on Rodriguez’s personal liberty.” Id., at
`908. Given that ruling, the court declined to reach the
`question whether Struble had reasonable suspicion to
`
`continue Rodriguez’s detention after issuing the written
`
`warning.
`We granted certiorari to resolve a division among lower
`
`courts on the question whether police routinely may ex­
`tend an otherwise-completed traffic stop, absent reason­
`able suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff. 573 U. S. ___
`
` (2014). Compare, e.g., United States v. Morgan, 270 F. 3d
`625, 632 (CA8 2001) (postcompletion delay of “well under
`ten minutes” permissible), with, e.g., State v. Baker, 2010
`
`UT 18, ¶13, 229 P. 3d 650, 658 (2010) (“[W]ithout addi­
`tional reasonable suspicion, the officer must allow the
`seized person to depart once the purpose of the stop has
`concluded.”).
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`5
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
` II
`A seizure for a traffic violation justifies a police investi­
`
`gation of that violation. “[A] relatively brief encounter,” a
`routine traffic stop is “more analogous to a so-called ‘Terry
`stop’ . . . than to a formal arrest.” Knowles v. Iowa, 525
`
`U. S. 113, 117 (1998) (quoting Berkemer v. McCarty, 468
`
`U. S. 420, 439 (1984), in turn citing Terry v. Ohio, 392
`U. S. 1 (1968)). See also Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U. S.
`323, 330 (2009). Like a Terry stop, the tolerable duration
`of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined
`by the seizure’s “mission”—to address the traffic violation
`that warranted the stop, Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407, and
`
` attend to related safety concerns, infra, at 6–7. See also
`United States v. Sharpe, 470 U. S. 675, 685 (1985); Florida
`v. Royer, 460 U. S. 491, 500 (1983) (plurality opinion)
`(“The scope of the detention must be carefully tailored to
`its underlying justification.”). Because addressing the
`infraction is the purpose of the stop, it may “last no longer
`
`
`than is necessary to effectuate th[at] purpose.” Ibid. See
`also Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407. Authority for the seizure
`thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or
`reasonably should have been—completed. See Sharpe,
`
`470 U. S., at 686 (in determining the reasonable duration
`of a stop, “it [is] appropriate to examine whether the police
`diligently pursued [the] investigation”).
`
`Our decisions in Caballes and Johnson heed these con­
`straints.
`In both cases, we concluded that the Fourth
`Amendment tolerated certain unrelated investigations
`that did not lengthen the roadside detention. Johnson,
`555 U. S., at 327–328 (questioning); Caballes, 543 U. S., at
`
`406, 408 (dog sniff). In Caballes, however, we cautioned
`that a traffic stop “can become unlawful if it is prolonged
`beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e]
`
`mission” of issuing a warning ticket. 543 U. S., at 407.
`And we repeated that admonition in Johnson: The seizure
`
`remains lawful only “so long as [unrelated] inquiries do
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`6
`
`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`Opinion of the Court
`not measurably extend the duration of the stop.” 555
`U. S., at 333. See also Muehler v. Mena, 544 U. S. 93, 101
`(2005) (because unrelated inquiries did not “exten[d] the
`time [petitioner] was detained[,] . . . no additional Fourth
`Amendment justification . . . was required”). An officer, in
`other words, may conduct certain unrelated checks during
`an otherwise lawful traffic stop. But contrary to JUSTICE
`ALITO’s suggestion, post, at 4, n. 2, he may not do so in a
`way that prolongs the stop, absent the reasonable suspi­
`cion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an individ­
`ual. But see post, at 1–2 (ALITO, J., dissenting) (premising
`
`
`opinion on the dissent’s own finding of “reasonable suspi­
`cion,” although the District Court reached the opposite
`
`conclusion, and the Court of Appeals declined to consider
`
`the issue).
`
`Beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, an
`officer’s mission includes “ordinary inquiries incident to
`[the traffic] stop.” Caballes, 543 U. S., at 408. Typically
`such inquiries involve checking the driver’s license, de­
`termining whether there are outstanding warrants
`against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s regis­
`tration and proof of insurance. See Delaware v. Prouse,
`
`440 U. S. 648, 658–660 (1979). See also 4 W. LaFave,
`
`Search and Seizure §9.3(c), pp. 507–517 (5th ed. 2012).
`These checks serve the same objective as enforcement of
`the traffic code: ensuring that vehicles on the road are
`
`operated safely and responsibly. See Prouse, 440 U. S., at
`658–659; LaFave, Search and Seizure §9.3(c), at 516 (A
`“warrant check makes it possible to determine whether
`the apparent traffic violator is wanted for one or more
`previous traffic offenses.”).
`
`A dog sniff, by contrast, is a measure aimed at “de­
`
`tect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.”
`
`Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U. S. 32, 40–41 (2000). See
`also Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1, ___–___ (2013) (slip
`op., at 7–8). Candidly, the Government acknowledged at
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`7
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`oral argument that a dog sniff, unlike the routine
`measures just mentioned, is not an ordinary incident of a
`traffic stop. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 33. Lacking the same
`close connection to roadway safety as the ordinary inquir­
`ies, a dog sniff is not fairly characterized as part of the
`officer’s traffic mission.
`In advancing its de minimis rule, the Eighth Circuit
`
`relied heavily on our decision in Pennsylvania v. Mimms,
`434 U. S. 106 (1977) (per curiam). See United States v.
`$404,905.00 in U. S. Currency, 182 F. 3d 643, 649 (CA8
`1999).
`In Mimms, we reasoned that the government’s
`
`“legitimate and weighty” interest in officer safety out­
`weighs the “de minimis” additional intrusion of requiring
`a driver, already lawfully stopped, to exit the vehicle. 434
`U. S., at 110–111. See also Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U. S.
`408, 413–415 (1997) (passengers may be required to exit
`vehicle stopped for traffic violation). The Eighth Circuit,
`echoed in JUSTICE THOMAS’s dissent, believed that the
`imposition here similarly could be offset by the Govern­
`ment’s “strong interest in interdicting the flow of illegal
`drugs along the nation’s highways.” $404,905.00 in U. S.
`Currency, 182 F. 3d, at 649; see post, at 9.
`
`Unlike a general interest in criminal enforcement,
`
`however, the government’s officer safety interest stems
`from the mission of the stop itself. Traffic stops are “espe­
`cially fraught with danger to police officers,” Johnson, 555
`U. S., at 330 (internal quotation marks omitted), so an
`officer may need to take certain negligibly burdensome
`precautions in order to complete his mission safely. Cf.
`United States v. Holt, 264 F. 3d 1215, 1221–1222 (CA10
`
`2001) (en banc) (recognizing officer safety justification for
`criminal record and outstanding warrant checks), abro­
`gated on other grounds as recognized in United States v.
`Stewart, 473 F. 3d 1265, 1269 (CA10 2007). On-scene
`
`investigation into other crimes, however, detours from
`
`that mission. See supra, at 6–7. So too do safety precau­
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`8
`
`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
`Opinion of the Court
`tions taken in order to facilitate such detours. But cf. post,
`at 2–3 (ALITO, J., dissenting). Thus, even assuming that
`the imposition here was no more intrusive than the exit
`order in Mimms, the dog sniff could not be justified on the
`same basis. Highway and officer safety are interests
`different in kind from the Government’s endeavor to de­
`tect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular.
`The Government argues that an officer may “incremen­
`
`tal[ly]” prolong a stop to conduct a dog sniff so long as the
`
`officer is reasonably diligent in pursuing the traffic-related
`purpose of the stop, and the overall duration of the stop
`remains reasonable in relation to the duration of other
`traffic stops involving similar circumstances. Brief for
`United States 36–39. The Government’s argument, in
`effect, is that by completing all traffic-related tasks expe­
`ditiously, an officer can earn bonus time to pursue an
`unrelated criminal investigation. See also post, at 2–5
`(THOMAS, J., dissenting) (embracing the Government’s
`
`
`argument). The reasonableness of a seizure, however,
`
` depends on what the police in fact do. See Knowles, 525
`In this regard, the Government
`U. S., at 115–117.
`acknowledges that “an officer always has to be reasonably
`diligent.” Tr. of Oral Arg. 49. How could diligence be
`gauged other than by noting what the officer actually did
`
`and how he did it? If an officer can complete traffic-based
`inquiries expeditiously, then that is the amount of “time
`reasonably required to complete [the stop’s] mission.”
`Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407. As we said in Caballes and
`
`reiterate today, a traffic stop “prolonged beyond” that
`
`point is “unlawful.” Ibid. The critical question, then, is
`
`not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the officer
`issues a ticket, as JUSTICE ALITO supposes, post, at 2–4,
`
`but whether conducting the sniff “prolongs”—i.e., adds
`
` time to—“the stop,” supra, at 6.
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`9
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
` III
`The Magistrate Judge found that detention for the dog
`
`
` sniff in this case was not independently supported by
`individualized suspicion, see App. 100, and the District
`Court adopted the Magistrate Judge’s findings, see id., at
`112–113. The Court of Appeals, however, did not review
`that determination. But see post, at 1, 10–12 (THOMAS, J.,
`
`
`dissenting) (resolving the issue, nevermind that the Court
`of Appeals left it unaddressed); post, at 1–2 (ALITO, J.,
`
`
`dissenting) (upbraiding the Court for addressing the sole
`issue decided by the Court of Appeals and characterizing
`the Court’s answer as “unnecessary” because the Court,
`instead, should have decided an issue the Court of Appeals
`did not decide). The question whether reasonable suspi­
`cion of criminal activity justified detaining Rodriguez
`beyond completion of the traffic infraction investigation,
`therefore, remains open for Eighth Circuit consideration
`on remand.
`
`
`
`*
`*
`*
`For the reasons stated, the judgment of the United
`
`States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is vacated,
`and the case is remanded for further proceedings con­
`sistent with this opinion.
`
`It is so ordered.
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
` KENNEDY, J., dissenting
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`1
`
`
`
`_________________
`
` No. 13–9972
`_________________
`DENNYS RODRIGUEZ, PETITIONER v.
`
`
` UNITED STATES
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
`
`[April 21, 2015]
`
`JUSTICE KENNEDY, dissenting.
`My join in JUSTICE THOMAS’ dissenting opinion does not
`
`extend to Part III. Although the issue discussed in that
`Part was argued here, the Court of Appeals has not ad-
`dressed that aspect of the case in any detail. In my view
`the better course would be to allow that court to do so in
`the first instance.
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`1
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
` THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 13–9972
`_________________
`DENNYS RODRIGUEZ, PETITIONER v.
`
`
` UNITED STATES
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
`
`[April 21, 2015]
`
`JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, and
`with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY joins as to all but Part III,
`
`dissenting.
`Ten years ago, we explained that “conducting a dog sniff
`
`[does] not change the character of a traffic stop that is
`lawful at its inception and otherwise executed in a reason-
`able manner.” Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U. S. 405, 408
`(2005). The only question here is whether an officer exe-
`cuted a stop in a reasonable manner when he waited to
`conduct a dog sniff until after he had given the driver a
`written warning and a backup unit had arrived, bringing
`the overall duration of the stop to 29 minutes. Because
`the stop was reasonably executed, no Fourth Amendment
`
`violation occurred. The Court’s holding to the contrary
`
`cannot be reconciled with our decision in Caballes or a
`number of common police practices. It was also unneces-
`sary, as the officer possessed reasonable suspicion to
`continue to hold the driver to conduct the dog sniff. I
`respectfully dissent.
`
`
`
`
`
`I
`
`The Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of the
`people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
`
`effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
`U. S. Const., Amdt. 4. As the text indicates, and as we
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
` THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`
`have repeatedly confirmed, “the ultimate touchstone of the
`
`Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness.’” Brigham City v.
`Stuart, 547 U. S. 398, 403 (2006). We have defined rea-
`sonableness “in objective terms by examining the totality
`
`of the circumstances,” Ohio v. Robinette, 519 U. S. 33, 39
`(1996), and by considering “the traditional protections
`against unreasonable searches and seizures afforded by
`the common law at the time of the framing,” Atwater v.
`Lago Vista, 532 U. S. 318, 326 (2001) (internal quotation
`marks omitted). When traditional protections have not
`provided a definitive answer, our precedents have “ana-
`lyzed a search or seizure in light of traditional standards
`of reasonableness by assessing, on the one hand, the de-
`gree to which it intrudes upon an individual’s privacy and,
`on the other, the degree to which it is needed for the pro-
`motion of legitimate governmental interests.” Virginia v.
`Moore, 553 U. S. 164, 171 (2008) (internal quotation
`marks omitted).
`
`Although a traffic stop “constitutes a ‘seizure’ of ‘per-
`sons’ within the meaning of [the Fourth Amendment],”
`such a seizure is constitutionally “reasonable where the
`police have probable cause to believe that a traffic viola-
`
`tion has occurred.” Whren v. United States, 517 U. S. 806,
`809–810 (1996). But “a seizure that is lawful at its incep-
`tion can violate the Fourth Amendment if its manner of
`execution unreasonably infringes interests protected by
`the Constitution.” Caballes, supra, at 407.
`
`
`Because Rodriguez does not dispute that Officer Struble
`had probable cause to stop him, the only question is
`whether the stop was otherwise executed in a reasonable
`manner. See Brief for Appellant in No. 13–1176 (CA8),
`p. 4, n. 2. I easily conclude that it was. Approximately 29
`minutes passed from the time Officer Struble stopped
`Rodriguez until his narcotics-detection dog alerted to the
`presence of drugs. That amount of time is hardly out of
`the ordinary for a traffic stop by a single officer of a vehi-
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`2
`
`
`
`
`

`
`3
`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
` THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`
`cle containing multiple occupants even when no dog sniff
`
`is involved. See, e.g., United States v. Ellis, 497 F. 3d 606
`
`(CA6 2007) (22 minutes); United States v. Barragan, 379
`F. 3d 524 (CA8 2004) (approximately 30 minutes). During
`that time, Officer Struble conducted the ordinary activities
`of a traffic stop—he approached the vehicle, questioned
`Rodriguez about the observed violation, asked Pollman
`about their travel plans, ran serial warrant checks on
`Rodriguez and Pollman, and issued a written warning to
`Rodriguez. And when he decided to conduct a dog sniff, he
`took the precaution of calling for backup out of concern for
`his safety. See 741 F. 3d 905, 907 (CA8 2014); see also
`Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U. S. 106, 110 (1977) (per
`curiam) (officer safety is a “legitimate and weighty” con-
`
`cern relevant to reasonableness).
`
`As Caballes makes clear, the fact that Officer Struble
`
`waited until after he gave Rodriguez the warning to con-
`duct the dog sniff does not alter this analysis. Because
`“the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog . . . gen-
`erally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests,” 543
`U. S., at 409, “conducting a dog sniff would not change the
`
`character of a traffic stop that is lawful at its inception
`and otherwise executed in a reasonable manner,” id., at
`408. The stop here was “lawful at its inception and other-
`wise executed in a reasonable manner.” Ibid. As in Ca-
`balles, “conducting a dog sniff [did] not change the charac-
`
`
`ter of [the] traffic stop,” ibid., and thus no Fourth
`
`Amendment violation occurred.
`
`II
`
`Rather than adhere to the reasonableness requirement
`that we have repeatedly characterized as the “touchstone
`
`of the Fourth Amendment,” Brigham City, supra, at 403,
`the majority constructed a test of its own that is incon-
`sistent with our precedents.
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
` RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES
`
` THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`
`A
`
`
`The majority’s rule requires a traffic stop to “en[d] when
`tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably
`should have been—completed.” Ante, at 5. “If an officer
`can complete traffic-based inquiries expeditiously, then
`that is the amount of time reasonably required to complete
`the stop’s mission” and he may hold the individual no
`longer. Ante, at 8 (internal quotation marks and altera-
`tions omitted). The majority’s rule thus imposes a one-
`way ratchet for constitutional protection linked to the
`characteristics of the individual officer conducting the
`stop: If a driver is stopped by a particularly efficient of-
`ficer, then he will be entitled to be released from the traf-
`fic stop after a shorter period of time than a driver stopped
`by a less efficient officer. Similarly, if a driver is stopped
`by an officer with access to technology that can shorten a
`records check, then he will be entitled to be released from
`the stop after a shorter period of time than an individual
`stopped by an officer without access to such technology.
`
`I “cannot accept that the search and seizure protections
`of the Fourth Amendment are so variable and can be made
`to turn upon such trivialities.” Whren, 517 U. S., at 815
`(citations omitted). We have repeatedly explained that the
`reasonableness inquiry must not hinge on the characteris-
`tics of the individual officer conducting the seizure. We
`have held, for example, that an officer’s state of mind
`“does not invalidate [an] action taken as long as the cir-
`cumstances, viewed objectively, justify that action.” Id., at
`813 (internal quotation marks omitted). We have spurned
`theories that would make the Fourth Amendment “change
`with local law enforcement practices.” Moore, supra, at
`172. And we have rejected a rule that would require the
`offense establishing probable cause to be “closely related
`to” the offense identified by the arresting officer, as such a
`rule would make “the constitutionality of an arrest . . .
`
`vary from place to place and from time to time, depending
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`4
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
` Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)
`
` THOMAS, J., dissenting
`
`
`on whether the arresting officer states the reason for the
`detention and, if so, whether he correctly identifies a
`general class of offense for which probable cause exists.”
`Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U. S. 146, 154 (2004) (internal
`quotation marks and citation omitted). In Devenpe

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