US v. Joffrey Perez, No. 20-4285 (4th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant argues that the district court erred in denying his suppression motion because the officers abandoned the purpose of the traffic stop and deliberately delayed their investigation so the canine unit could conduct its dog sniff. He also contends that the court clearly erred by crediting the officer’s testimony after he impeached the officer with a prior inconsistent statement.
The circuit court found that though the stop could have been shorter (and begun more efficiently), it wasn’t impermissibly prolonged, and the officers’ actions were reasonably related to investigating an expired license plate. Reasoning that the acceptable length of a routine traffic stop can’t be stated with mathematical precision,” but the officers here were diligent enough to pass constitutional muster. United States v. Digiovanni, 650 F.3d 498 (4th Cir. 2011).
Regarding the other officer’s testimony, the circuit court was not persuaded that the district court erred in finding him credible. The district court acknowledged that the defendant impeached the officer with a prior inconsistent statement yet otherwise found the officer credible. The circuit court declined to disturb the district court’s credibility assessment. As such, the circuit court affirmed the district court’s judgment.