Published on: Sunday, April 24, 2022

Utah Highway Patrol officer pulls over a car with Kansas plates for speeding and changing langes without properly signaling. After talking with the driver, trooper returns to his patrol car and calls for a local sheriff's K-9 unit. The K-9 eventually shows up and alerts on the car, and the resulting search turns up a gun, fentanyl pills, and a kilo of cocaine. Man: the trooper had no reasonable suspicion to prolong the stop to facilitate the dig sniff? Trial court: Yes, he did. Tenth Circuit: No, he didn't. The only things the officer cites are: the presence of a duffle bag in the back seat (which "is merely evidence of travel"), the presence of air freshener in the center console, and the facts that the driver did not roll his window down completely ("it was a brisk 44 degrees on the morning in question"), could not locate his rental agreement, and paused briefly before answering questions about his trip. The cop had a hunch, and hunches aren't enough. Evidence suppressed. Conviction reversed.

The case is United States v. Frazier, No. 20-04131 (10th Cir. Apr. 13, 2022).