United States v. Ludwig, No. 10-8009 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant-Appellant Sergei Ludwig challenges his indictment on drug trafficking charges stemming from being pulled over by police for speeding. The trooper became suspicious when Defendant offered a strange story about his travel plans. The trooper ran a certified drug dog around the vehicle, and the dog alerted to the presence of drugs. A search of the vehicle revealed eleven pounds of drugs in a hidden compartment inside. At trial, Defendant sought to suppress the drugs found in his vehicle, arguing that his detention and search of the vehicle violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court disagreed and admitted the evidence. After this, Defendant learned that all three of the troopers involved in his detention had vehicles equipped with video cameras; the Government produced only two videos into evidence at trial; the third video had been automatically deleted. Defendant then moved to dismiss the indictment against him because the government failed to save the third video, and filed a second motion to suppress. The trial court dismissed both motions; Defendant appealed the decisions of the court to dismiss all motions, as well as the sentence he eventually received, challenging the constitutionality of the traffic stop, the reliability of the drug dog, and issues of proof pertaining to the missing video. The Tenth Circuit was unpersuaded by Defendant's arguments on appeal. Finding that there was probable cause for the traffic stop and subsequent search, the Court found flaws with Defendant's arguments challenging the drug dog's reliability, and the deletion of one of three videos taken the night of his arrest. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision.