United States v. Yang (N.D. 2019)

Traffic Stop; Prolonged Detention

Traffic stop for following too closely. Odd behavior by occupants. LE asked driver to come back to cruiser. 33 seconds into the stop, LE asked for a PSD team to respond. This request was because of the off behavior of occupants prior to initiating the stop. While LE was waiting for driver’s information to come back (delay due to middle name confusion) LE noted overly nervous behavior. During this wait, LE asked driver questions that were not specifically related to the traffic stop (employment, etc.) Her answers indicated that she was not telling the truth about her cross country journey. PSD team arrived and LE brought them up to speed. LE then asked for and got driver’s consent to search the car. Handler and LE then conferred again after which the PSD was deployed. The ticket was finally printed out after the alert. The passenger challenged the stop as unreasonable prolonged.

The court held that LE did not have enough information of additional criminal activity when he called for the PSD team and none was developed in the questioning prior to the arrival of the PSD team. The court also held that LE did not expeditiously complete the citation; court  believed that at 11:16, LE had the information to have driver sign the citation, even though it was printed at 11:24.  Finally, the consent was invalidated, the court held, because it would not have happened “but for” the prolongation of the stop.