United States v. Simon, No. 18-2442 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Simon was stopped for failing to signal sufficiently ahead of turning. A drug-sniffing dog alerted on Simon’s car. Officers searched it. They did not find drugs, but found a gun. The government charged Simon as a felon-in-possession. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of Simon’s motions for recusal, suppression, and supplementation. The court rejected an argument that the judge should have recused himself because, before he was a judge, he supervised a prior prosecution of Simon. The district court properly assessed credibility and found that the officers had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop and did not prolong the stop to allow for the dog sniff. The mere absence of drugs does not undermine the probable cause to search for drugs, provided there was probable cause in the first place. The judge conducted the proper Harris evaluation and concluded the dog’s satisfactory certification and training provide sufficient reason to trust his alert. The judge did not abuse his discretion in denying a motion to supplement the record, after the denial of the suppression motion, with a nighttime video. The nighttime video would not capture the actual visual capabilities of the officers, who credibly testified about how close Simon was to the intersection when he signaled.