US v. Paholsky (West Virginia 2020) 2020 US Dist. LEXIS 184789

Reliability Foundation; Prolonged Detention

LE had a residence under surveillance for drug activity. A PSD team was part of this operation. Defendant drove away and a marked patrol vehicle pulled him over after observing a vehicle violation. Consent was refused and after documentation was gathered, LE called for the PSD team. PSD was so close, handler could actually see LE call for him. PSD team arrived within a minute. Within five or six minutes, PSD alerted to vehicle. While LE told the court he believed he was still awaiting confirmation from dispatch regarding defendant’s information, the court held that the call out for the PSD team, their arrival and the free air sniff was performed “simultaneously” with the traffic stop duties.
Defendant complained that the PSD did not appropriately alert. Handler testified that PSD was almost always right when he sat and “pitter-pattered” his feet. If he sat without pitter-pattering, it was handler’s habit to run the PSD around the car again and if PSD sat again, he was almost always right as well. The court held that the PSD was reliable because 1) he was certified; 2) any issues that were identified as problematic were remediated successfully; 3) while the PSD’s alert/final indication was unique, it was still acceptable to show that PSD was reliable.