Dakota Supreme Court ruled Aug. 8 it was legal for a state trooper
to arrest a trucker for drug possession after patting him down
during a random stop when he admitted his logbook wasn't current.
Rechtenbach was stopped Dec. 26, 2000, near St. Onge, SD, by state
trooper Brian Swets. Swets, a canine officer whose primary job
is drug interdiction, decided that day to instead pull over truckers
and check their logbooks.
said his logbook was not current, the officer ordered him to get
out of the truck. Swets patted him down and found a wire with
white residue on it. Swets then had his dog sniff around the truck.
said he found two glass pipes, a pill and a bottle containing
alcohol in the truck. Rechtenbach was indicted for driving under
the combined influence of drugs or alcohol and two counts of possession
of a controlled substance.
was ruled unconstitutional by a circuit court judge, placing Rechtenbach's
trail on hold until the state could appeal. The judge said warrantless
searches of trucks are not allowed during random regulatory stops
because there are not limits as to the time, place and scope of
But the state
Supreme Court overruled the lower court 3-2 saying officers need
the ability to randomly stop trucks because they can damage roads
and endanger other traffic. The court noted that the trucking
industry is highly regulated by both state and federal governments
and truckers may be stopped for inspections at any time.
of trucks should not be allowed, wrote dissenting Justice Robert
A. Admundson. He said a random logbook check should not be turned
into a fishing expedition for drugs.
is a case where a random stop was for the sole purpose of resolving
the query, 'What should I do today to give Rufus, the drug dog,
some exercise?" Admundson wrote.