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A longer prolonged stop/dog sniff, but a different result

State v. Troy Paulson, 2015AP456-CR, 8/31/16, District 2 (1-judge opinion, not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

This is the second dog sniff case from District 2 in less than a week. See our post on State v. Downer Jossi here, which recognized that SCOTUS’s Rodriguez v. United States overruled SCOW’s State v. Arias.  Paulson, however, did not fare as well as Downer Jossi.

It was midnight when Deputy Coleman stopped a car parked at a boat launch with a sign that read “no parking between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.” He noticed a male driver and a female passenger but did not detect the odor of alcohol or marijuana or observe sexual activity. He did see a jacket stuffed around the rear passenger seat. He returned to his squad car and ordered drug dog.

In the meantime, Deputy Coleman asked lots of questions. The male driver was 26. The female was 16 (or 17). He was giving her a ride home from work. The deputy tried calling her parents and decided to wait a reasonable time for them to respond to his voicemail. He took the female’s fingerprints. That turned up nothing. Long story short, 27 minutes after the stop, the drug dog arrived and detected a controlled substance in the car. Paulson moved to suppress on the grounds that the deputy unreasonably prolonged the seizure of his car in order to conduct the dog sniff. Paulson says he should have been released as soon as the deputy completed the information check on him (as opposed to matters relating to the girl).

The court of appeals disagreed. (¶18). It held that the girl’s presence prolonged the tasks incidental to the original mission of the seizure–to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop.

¶19 Moreover, the unidentified minor was in a car with a man ten years older, after curfew, in a remote location. Her speech was slurred, she was hesitant to identify herself, nervous, and indicated her parents were unavailable. The officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the stop to investigate the curfew violation and Paulson’s role in it, and, in any event, to ensure that the minor was safely returned to her home—including whether her parents would let her drive home with Paulson or the officer. See Gammons, 241 Wis. 2d at 306 (noting that the scope of the officer’s inquiry may be broadened beyond the original purpose of the stop if additional suspicious factors come to the officer’s attention). Consequently, whether because the initial seizure was still ongoing or was reasonably extended due to the minor’s violation of curfew, the authority for the seizure had not ended, and Paulson’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures was not violated. See Rodriguez, 135 S. Ct. at 1614.



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