DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder Attorney Benjamin R. Sorber recently won an appeal in Ohio’s 9th District Court of Appeals throwing out a baseless search of our client during a routine traffic stop.
The case involved a stop for a “marked lanes violation”. Although the officer did not believe the driver to be intoxicated, he decided to detain her while he waited for a canine to come and search the vehicle. U.S. Supreme Court precedent states that the police cannot detain a driver longer than it takes for them to complete the purpose of the traffic stop. (Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. 1, 135 S. Ct 1609 (2015)). In this case, that would be however long it would have taken the officer to write a warning for a marked lanes violation. Instead of writing the warning, the Officer stalled, talked shop with other police officers, and waited until after the canine arrived to finish writing the warning. Once the canine arrived, the officers discovered narcotics and the driver was charged with a felony possession of drugs.
After pleading not-guilty, Attorney Sorber filed a motion to suppress on the driver’s behalf, arguing that the detention and search violated her Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. A full hearing on the motion was held and Attorney Sorber cross examined the officer about his delays in writing the ticket. After the hearing, the trial court judge agreed with Attorney Sorber and issued an order finding the police violated the driver’s rights and threw out the evidence seized by the police.
The prosecutor’s office then appealed, arguing that the detention was reasonable because the officer took only about 3 minutes longer than necessary to write the ticket. The case was then chosen by the Court of Appeals to be argued at Elyria Catholic High School as part of their Courtroom in the Classroom Program. Attorney Sorber’s appellate argument can be viewed here:
Following arguments on the case, the Court of Appeals ultimately decided that the driver’s constitutional rights were violated when the officer detained her longer than he should have taken to write the ticket. As a result, the prosecutors will be forced to dismiss all charges pending against our client.
The attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have vast experience dealing with cases involving traffic stops and canine searches. Our attorneys aggressively defend these cases at all levels, both in state and federal courts.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime involving a traffic stop or search, please call us at (330) 787-9841 for a consultation.