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State v. Miller, 2019 UT App 18 (Jan. 31, 2019)

Jan 31, 2019

In this criminal appeal, the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress based upon the stop being impermissibly prolonged without reasonable suspicion.  The defendant had argued that, while the initial stop may have been justified based upon him going five MPH over the speed limit, the officer unconstitutionally prolonged the stop by having him walk back to the patrol car, engaged him in unrelated questioning, and delayed a criminal-history check until a drug-sniffing dog could be deployed.  Dissenting, Judge Orme raised concerns with the stop being based on the defendant going five MPH over the speed limit with no other violations, and with the officer running an enhanced background check based upon a “suspicion” that the officer had about the defendant.  Relying on Rodriguez, Judge Orme agreed with the defendant that the officer ran the enhanced background check to “buy himself additional time to conduct the dog sniff” and otherwise was not reasonably diligent in concluding the traffic stop rendering the extension of the stop unconstitutional.