Today marks the 21st anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case of Ohio v. Robinette. Ohio v. Robinette stands for the simple proposition that the 4th amendment does not require police officers to inform drivers in a traffic stop that they are free to go before asking questions unrelated to the purpose of the traffic stop.
The case behind Ohio v. Robinette is relatively mundane. On a stretch of I70 near Dayton Ohio, Robert D. Robinette was pulled over for a traffic stop on August 3, 1993. Mr. Robinette was issued a warning for speeding. The officer then asked “One more question before you get gone: Are you carrying any illegal contraband in your car? Any Weapons of any kind, drugs, anything like that?”. Mr. Robertte responded “no”. The officer then asked if he could search the car, which Mr. Robinette consented to. The officer subsequently found a small amount of marijuana, and a single pill of ecstasy. Mr. Robinette was arrested and charged for possession of controlled substance.