Police can’t extend traffic stop to wait for sniffing dogs, justices say

By Robert Barnes, Washington Post

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police may not drag out a routine traffic stop in order to buy time for a dog to search the vehicle for drugs.

“A police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, adding that authority for stopping the vehicle “ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are — or reasonably should have been — completed.”

The court’s decision was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joining Ginsburg.

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