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Motor Vehicles – OWI — reasonable suspicion – trespass — community caretaker exception

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 26, 2012//

Motor Vehicles – OWI — reasonable suspicion – trespass — community caretaker exception

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 26, 2012//

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Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Criminal

Motor Vehicles – OWI — reasonable suspicion – trespass — community caretaker exception

In this case, a sheriff’s deputy noticed a car parked with its lights off in a field access pathway at 10:00 p.m. The deputy suspected that this vehicle was trespassing and was aware that two homicides had occurred in Manitowoc county in the past two years in wooded areas. Therefore, the deputy stopped the vehicle on suspicion of trespassing and in the exercise of the community caretaker function as soon as the vehicle backed out of the access way and began to drive. But when we look at Manitowoc county’s trespass ordinance and line the facts up against it, it is clear that key elements of the trespass are missing. As for the community caretaker rationale, a key feature found in past cases is absent—facts showing that officer assistance might be needed. We reverse. This opinion will not be published in the official reports.

2012AP1131-CR State v. Hammersley

Dist II, Manitowoc County, Fox, J., Brown, C.J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: York, Katie R., Madison; For Respondent: Weber, Gregory M., Madison; Rohrer, Mark R., Manitowoc

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