The U.S. Supreme Court handed interstate travelers a major victory in 2015. On April 21st the Court decided Rodriguez v. United States. Rodriguez holds that cops must limit their investigation during traffic stops to enforcing the traffic laws. If this seems like common sense, it should. However, there are thousands of cops nationwide who are trained to “look beyond” the routine stop for other criminal activity. In other words, they use an old-fashioned traffic stop to conduct an unrelated, suspicion-less criminal investigations. The police have a clever name for this questionable, largely unconstitutional practice: “Criminal Interdiction”. In a series of upcoming posts about criminal interdiction traffic stops I will explore:
- What is a criminal interdiction investigation;
- How are these investigations conducted (Part I), (Part II);
- How criminal interdiction, property seizure and asset forfeiture are inextricably linked;
- Who trains law enforcement in conducting criminal interdiction traffic stops;
- What it looks like in Iowa; and
- Finally, how the Rodriguez case and my Iowa Supreme Court case, In the Matter of Property Seized from Pardee, will change criminal interdiction traffic stops in Iowa.
In the Matter of Property Seized from Pardee, is an Iowa Supreme Court case I litigated and won. The case involved an interdiction traffic stop. During the stop, $33,100.00 was seized from Robert Pardee. The State forfeited the cash. On December 11, 2015, the forfeiture judgment was overturned by the Iowa Supreme Court. Pardee will have a significant impact on criminal interdiction in Iowa. I will rely heavily on Pardee to illustrate points throughout the upcoming posts. I have linked to the opinion here.
If you have questions or comments about criminal interdiction traffic stops do not hesitate to contact us. Stowers & Sarcone, PLC.