How long can police question drivers on I-70? Kansas Supreme Court hears Geary County drug cases

Law enforcement officers’ authority to prolong traffic stops for the purpose of investigating drug crimes came into question Wednesday with three cases from Geary County in front of the Kansas Supreme Court.

The cases in question — each involving either a Junction City police officer or a sheriff’s deputy stopping a car on Interstate 70 — escalated from a simple traffic violation to drug dog searches and arrests for drug trafficking. At question is whether officers became suspicious through reasonable questioning or if they illegally extended the traffic stop in order to investigate drug crimes.

The U.S. Supreme Court in its 2015 Rodriguez v. United States opinion held that extending a traffic stop without suspicion violated the U.S. Constitution’s protection against unreasonable seizures.