Tuesday, February 26, 2008

U.S. v. Turvin, No. 06-30551 (2-26-08). For about 14 minutes, it is a lawful traffic stop, and then the police ask an unrelated question: not about the speed limit, but about possible speed in the car. Is this a bad stop? The district court said, "yes," but the 9th (Wallace and Noonan) reverse, holding that asking unrelated questions did not extend the traffic stop unreasonably. The 9th reasoned that its prior decision in Mendez, 476 F.3d 1077 (9th Cir. 2007), controlled because there, a stop was not deemed unreasonable even when questions went from the license plate registration to gang life. Dissenting, Paez argues that unrelated questions can be asked only if there is a reasonable basis; the officer cannot just ask about anything and everything. The majority believes that that requirement had been overruled by Mendez. Moreover, the 9th allows the time was not unduly extended with the questions.


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