from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Patrick R.
defendant challenges the district court's denial of his
motion to suppress.
P. Spellman and Mary K. Spellman of Spellman Law, P.C., West
Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, Janet M. Lyness, County Attorney, and
Elizabeth Beglin, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
defendant was stopped for violating Iowa Code section
321.297(2) (2017). That section provides, "Any vehicle
proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the
time and place and under the conditions then existing shall
be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic
upon all roadways . . . ." The deputy asked defendant
and his passenger questions and found their answers
suspicious. In response to drug interdiction questions,
defendant indicated, "You can do what you got to
do." The deputy sought further permission for a consent
search. Within fourteen minutes of being pulled over, he
conducting a full search of defendant's car, the deputy
located over eighty pounds of marijuana in the trunk.
Defendant was arrested and charged with possession of
marijuana with intent to deliver. Defendant filed a motion to
suppress all evidence stemming from the stop. The district
court denied defendant's motion in its entirety.
granted defendant's application for discretionary review.
On review, defendant raises four issues: (1) whether the
deputy obtained reasonable suspicion of other criminal
activity in order to permit the prolonged detention, (2)
whether his consent to search was voluntary, (3)whether Iowa
Code section 321.297(2) is void for vagueness, and (4)whether
probable cause existed for the traffic stop.
review, we reverse the district court's judgment as to
whether the deputy developed reasonable suspicion of other
criminal activity before unreasonably prolonging the stop.
Consequently, we need not address the other issues.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Sherriff Cody O'Hare of the Johnson County Sheriff's
Office was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in response
to a reported reckless driver. It was approximately 9:00 p.m.
on November 2, 2017, when Deputy O'Hare-en route to that
call-encountered a different car traveling in the left lane
of Interstate 80's two eastbound lanes. Deputy
O'Hare's attention was drawn to this car because,
despite the deputy's approach, the car did not move to
the right-hand lane to let him pass. Deputy O'Hare
testified he approached the car in the left lane, the same
lane as his direction of travel. Deputy O'Hare was
informed by dispatch that the car was a rental. The posted
speed limit on this stretch of interstate was seventy miles
per hour. Deputy O'Hare was traveling about seventy-five
miles per hour in response to the dispatch call. He estimated
the car was traveling approximately sixty miles per hour in
the seventy miles-per-hour zone.
O'Hare testified he was forced to move to the right-hand
lane. He paced the car for three miles at approximately two
car lengths behind the car. The car remained in the left most
lane throughout the duration of Deputy O'Hare's
pacing, even when Interstate 80 became three eastbound lanes.
No other traffic, weather, or condition made it unsafe for
the car to move to the right-hand lane.
O'Hare switched back to the left most lane, followed the
car for a moment, and then initiated a traffic stop for
violation of Iowa Code section 321.297(2). The car complied
without difficulty. At approximately 9:05 p.m., Deputy
O'Hare approached the passenger side of the car. He
explained he initiated the stop for driving too slow in the
left-hand lane and asked the driver for his license and
rental car agreement. Due to the loud interstate traffic and
cold November weather, Deputy O'Hare asked the driver to
accompany him back to the patrol car. The driver indicated he
had no weapons on him and allowed Deputy O'Hare to
conduct a pat-down search when requested to do so. Following
that pat-down, the driver let himself into the unlocked front
seat passenger door of the patrol car. It was approximately
driver identified himself as Juan Salcedo. Deputy O'Hare
initiated a conversation with Salcedo and asked about his
travel plans. Salcedo explained he was driving back from
California after visiting his girlfriend. Salcedo further
explained his home was New York City and he and the
passenger, who Salcedo identified as his cousin, were
traveling together. Deputy O'Hare repeatedly thumbed
through the rental car agreement. In response to
Salcedo's questioning about the reason for the stop,
Deputy O'Hare said there was no reason for Salcedo to be
driving in the fast lane. The conversation continued while
Deputy O'Hare again quickly and repeatedly flipped
through the rental car agreement. Salcedo stated he initially
flew from New York to Florida and then flew from Florida to