Georgia v. AllenAnnotate this Case
A police officer initiated a traffic stop of the car being driven by appellee Patrick Scott, in which appellee Dorian Allen was a passenger. About eight minutes into the stop, the officer radioed for a computer records check on both Scott and Allen. While awaiting the response based on Allen’s out-of-state identification card, the officer conducted a free-air dog sniff of the car, and about 11 ½ minutes into the stop, the dog alerted, giving the officer probable cause to continue the detention of Scott and Allen and to search the car. The search led to the discovery of almost 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk and the arrest and indictment of Scott and Allen. Both moved to suppress the drug evidence on the ground that the traffic stop was unreasonably and thus unconstitutionally prolonged by the records check on Allen. The trial court granted the suppression motion. A divided Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed: it was clear from the record that the computer records check on the stopped car’s passenger was part of the authorized mission of the traffic stop, and it was also clear that the officer conducted the records check and the stop as a whole with reasonable diligence. Accordingly, the stop was constitutional, and Scott and Allen’s motion to suppress should have been denied.