7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: United States of America v. Jacques S. Gholston
Case No.: 20-2168
Officials: EASTERBROOK, WOOD, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Focus: Motion to Suppress Evidence Denied – 4th Amendment Violation
Officer Erik Cowick pulled over Jacques Gholston just after midnight on April 29, 2018, for turning without signaling. Because Cowick suspected that Gholston was a drug dealer, he called for a trained dog to perform a drug sniff at the scene. As Cowick was finishing the routine procedures required for a minor traffic violation, the dog arrived and alerted officers to the presence of methamphetamine.
The discovery of the drugs led in time to federal charges for possession of five or more grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B). In response, Gholston filed a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence of the meth seized as a result of the dog sniff. He contended that Cowick unreasonably delayed the stop in order to allow the “K9” officer to arrive and perform an inspection. The district court denied the motion. Gholston then pleaded guilty, reserving his right to challenge the ruling on the motion to suppress. We conclude that the district court committed no reversible error in finding that Cowick did not unlawfully prolong the stop and thus did not violate Gholston’s Fourth Amendment rights. We therefore affirm.