BY THE COURT
reviewing a district court's decision on a motion to
suppress, we apply a bifurcated standard. First, we review
the district court's factual findings to determine
whether those findings are supported by substantial competent
evidence. Second, we then review the district court's
ultimate legal conclusion drawn from the facts de novo.
the parties do not dispute the facts of the case, the
question of suppression becomes exclusively a matter of law
over which the court exercises unlimited review.
Whether the district court abused its discretion by applying
an incorrect legal standard is a question of law.
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and §
15 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights prohibit
unreasonable searches and seizures. A routine traffic stop is
a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, so it is subject to the
constitutional requirement of reasonableness. To satisfy the
reasonableness requirement, the scope and duration of a
traffic stop and the circumstances that rendered its
initiation must be strictly tied.
Traffic stops must be minimally intrusive and diligently
pursued, and a law enforcement officer's actions must be
reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that
justified the initial interference. During a routine traffic
stop, an officer may: (1) request the motorist's
driver's license and vehicle registration, (2) conduct a
computer check, (3) issue a citation, and (4) take steps
reasonably necessary to protect the officer's safety. The
stop can last only as long as necessary to complete those
tasks, and the tasks must be diligently pursued.
a driver produces a valid license and proof that he or she
may operate the vehicle, the driver must be allowed to
proceed without being subject to further delay for additional
questioning. To justify a temporary detention for further
questioning or investigation, the officer must have
reasonable and articulable suspicion of illegal transactions
in drugs or another serious crime.
Reasonable suspicion requires something more than just a
hunch, law enforcement must be able to find a particularized
and objective basis for believing the person stopped is
engaged in criminal activity.
Without reasonable suspicion to justify the extension of a
completed stop, any further delay is unreasonable.
State has the burden to demonstrate that a seizure following
an officer's determination that reasonable suspicion
existed was sufficiently limited in scope and duration to
satisfy the conditions of an investigative seizure. Traffic
stops have limitations. The investigative methods employed
should be the least intrusive means reasonably available to
verify or dispel the officer's suspicion in a short
period of time.
determine if officers have complied with limits, courts must
take into account whether the police diligently pursued their
investigation. Specifically, courts should examine whether
the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that
was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly,
during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.
enforcement must act diligently and detain only temporarily
for no longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of the
stop, even if law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that
the person is engaging in illegal activity.
from Saline District Court; Patrick H. Thompson, judge.
Norton, assistant county attorney, and Derek Schmidt,
attorney general, for appellant.
McKenna, of McKenna Law Office, P.A., of Salina, for
Standridge, P.J., Gardner, J., and Walker, S.J.
State appeals the district court's decision to grant
Sergio Angel Arrizabalaga's motion to suppress evidence
on the grounds that a state highway patrol trooper who
stopped Arrizabalaga while he was driving on I-70 did not
diligently pursue the purpose of the stop and that the stop
was excessive in duration. The State argues that the district
court abused its discretion by applying incorrect standards
of law and that the district court erred when finding the
trooper did not act diligently. But our review of the
district court's analysis shows that the district court
applied correct standards of law and thus did not abuse its
discretion. Additionally, we find the court did not err when
granting the motion to suppress because the trooper who
stopped Arrizabalaga did not act diligently and did not
reasonably pursue the purpose of the stop after he gained
reasonable suspicion that Arrizabalaga was involved in drug
activity. Thus we affirm the district court's decision.
stop and search of Arrizabalaga's vehicle
9:45 p.m. on September 5, 2017, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper
Kyle Seiler initiated a traffic stop of Arrizabalaga's
vehicle for following a tractor trailer too closely as he
drove along I-70 near Salina. At the suppression hearing held
later in this case, Seiler testified that he initially saw
Arrizabalaga's van was travelling slower than most
traffic on I-70, around 67 miles per hour, so he started
following it. While following, Seiler continued to observe
the van and initiated the traffic stop when Seiler determined
that Arrizabalaga was following a tractor trailer too
closely. Seiler looked up the van's tag number when he
initiated the stop. Seiler testified that Arrizabalaga slowed
the van significantly in the driving lane before pulling off
onto the shoulder of I-70, which seemed odd to him based on
his experience in conducting traffic stops.
approached the van, shined his flashlight on the vehicle, and
observed that the van was full of stacked cardboard boxes,
large black bags, and a suitcase. As Seiler initiated contact
with Arrizabalaga and the passenger, Seiler noticed a radar
detector on the windshield, which he thought was odd because
Arrizabalaga had not been speeding. Seiler also noticed a
strong odor of "either cologne or air freshener, some
sort of deodorizer" coming from inside the van. While at
the van, Seiler asked for Arrizabalaga's driver's
license and rental papers and inquired about
Arrizabalaga's travel plans. Arrizabalaga told Seiler he
was going to St. Louis to see family and friends.
requested Arrizabalaga to accompany him to his patrol car,
and Arrizabalaga did so. Once they were in the patrol car,
Seiler requested a driver's license check through
dispatch and a criminal history check. While waiting on the
results of these checks, Seiler asked Arrizabalaga more about
his travel plans. Arrizabalaga told Seiler he was from
Broomfield, Colorado, which Arrizabalaga said was about 20
minutes from where he rented the van in Denver. Seiler asked
about the cargo in the van, which Arrizabalaga told him was
for a surprise birthday party for the passenger in a few
continued to tell Seiler about his travel plans, providing
that he and his passenger had stopped at an IHOP restaurant
in Salina and wanted to keep driving until they could find a
nice hotel like a Holiday Inn. Seiler testified that this
struck him as odd because there is a Holiday Inn right next
to the IHOP in Salina. Seiler then asked Arrizabalaga why the
one-way rental was to be dropped off in Tallahassee, Florida,
rather than their destination of St. Louis. Seiler asked
Arrizabalaga if he was going to Florida, and he said no.
Arrizabalaga told Seiler that he had two weeks off of work
and was going to travel after stopping in St. Louis. He
stated that the passenger was unaware of his travel plans and
that Arrizabalaga was planning to fly back to Colorado.
district court found that about eight and a half minutes
elapsed until dispatch confirmed Arrizabalaga's
driver's license was valid and provided his criminal
history. Seiler printed off a warning ticket and told
Arrizabalaga that was all he had for him. Arrizabalaga
started to get out of the car, and Seiler asked him if he
would answer more questions. Arrizabalaga consented, and
Seiler began asking him about his criminal history.
Arrizabalaga told Seiler he had been issued a citation for
marijuana, but he had never been arrested, which was
inconsistent with the information the dispatch had provided.
Dispatch provided that Arrizabalaga had been charged with
producing marijuana and a felony related to a stolen vehicle.
Seiler then asked Arrizabalaga if he could search his van,
and Arrizabalaga consented.
he gave consent, Arrizabalaga and Seiler returned to
Arrizabalaga's van, and Seiler asked the passenger to
exit the van. At this time, Seiler told Arrizabalaga that he
had reasonable suspicion but not probable cause to search the
van. Arrizabalaga asked Seiler if he had a search warrant,
and Seiler responded that Arrizabalaga had consented. Seiler
told Arrizabalaga and his passenger that he was looking for
large amounts of drugs and any personal use amounts would
"go into the ditch." Arrizabalaga then revoked his
consent to search the van.
Arrizabalaga revoked consent, Seiler informed Arrizabalaga
that he was calling for a drug dog, and if no dog was
available then they would be free to leave. Seiler took the
van keys from Arrizabalaga and called dispatch to find a dog.
Dispatch advised there was no dog available, but a few
minutes later Kansas Highway Patrol Lieutenant Scott Walker
informed Seiler he had a dog and would come to the scene.
Walker arrived approximately 24 minutes later. Walker's
dog alerted within three minutes of Walker's arrival. A
search of the van revealed 112 packages containing
approximately 111.5 pounds of marijuana. Arrizabalaga was
arrested, and the State charged him with one count each of
possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of
drug paraphernalia, and no drug tax stamp.
first motion to suppress
filed his first motion to suppress on July 16, 2018,
requesting that the court "suppress the items seized
by law enforcement and any statements made by [Arrizabalaga]
to law enforcement as the result of an unlawful detention and
search and seizure." In this motion, Arrizabalaga argued
that Seiler did not have probable cause to stop the van and
did not have reasonable suspicion to detain Arrizabalaga. The
district court held the first motion to suppress hearing a
few days later and made an oral ruling at a separate hearing.
The district court found that Seiler had reasonable suspicion
for the initial traffic stop and that Seiler's questions
about travel plans while processing the traffic infraction
were appropriate and did not measurably extend the length of
the stop. Regarding the voluntary exchange after the
completion of the initial stop, the district court found that
Arrizabalaga consented to additional questions and that the
encounter became voluntary until he withdrew consent to
search the van.
district court provided a factual analysis of the totality of
the circumstances for finding reasonable suspicion, including
consideration of the cargo in the van, the odor of cologne or
air freshener, and the rental agreement. The district court
"If this was based solely on the initial observations
made by Trooper Seiler, the Court would find this to be a
very close case. Trooper Seiler did not see any air
fresheners in the van and did not ask either occupant about
the odor. And traveling to Missouri would not be a
significant variation from traveling to Tallahassee from
Denver using I-70.
"However, as noted the recent Kansas Supreme Court
decisions, Seiler could ask additional travel questions in
the course of pursuing the mission of the traffic stop
without extending the length of the detention. A noticeable
disconnect between the driver's explanation and the
rental documents would warrant additional inquiry. That is
what occurred in this case."
district court detailed the further inquiry the trooper made.
Then, the district court provided:
"As noted in a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals case,
quoted in the [State v.] Schooler[, 308
Kan. 333, 419 P.3d 1164 (2018), ] decision by the Kansas
Supreme Court, lies, evasions, or inconsistencies about any
subject while being detained may contribute to reasonable
"This Court finds defendant's answers regarding
his travel plans to be more than unusual or strange. The
travel plan answers were inconsistent with the four-day
[rental], thus they were a factor supporting reasonable
"Then, after the encounter became voluntary, the
defendant gave answers inconsistent with the criminal history
information from dispatch. As stated in Schooler,
criminal history alone cannot support reasonable suspicion,
but in conjunction with other factors, criminal history
contributes powerfully to reasonable suspicious calculus.
Moreover, when the individual lies about having a criminal
history, the inference of wrongdoing is all the more
"The Court finds, based on the totality of the
circumstances, when the defendant withdrew his consent to
search the van, there was objectively reasonable suspicion of
other activities to extend the detention for the dog sniff.
The motion to suppress is denied."
second motion to suppress
one month after the initial motion to suppress was denied,
Arrizabalaga filed a second motion to suppress arguing that
the length of the detention for the drug dog's arrival
was too long and that his statements made to Seiler after
searching the van were not voluntary.
second motion to suppress hearing, the State contended that
officers could do one of two things when using a drug dog
during a traffic stop. In the absence of reasonable
suspicion, an officer could run the dog during the traffic
stop if it did not extend the original purpose of the stop in
any measurable way. But if there was reasonable suspicion,
then the State argued that an officer could detain
Arrizabalaga long enough to bring in a drug dog. The State
took the position that the reasonable suspicion framework of
how long an officer can detain for a drug dog has been
"sort of foreclosed under Rodriguez [v.
United States, 575 U.S. 348, 135 S.Ct. 1609, 191 L.Ed.2d
492 (2015)], when [the United States Supreme Court]
reaffirmed that you can't hold for any length of time,
whether reasonable or not, if you don't ...