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Search and Seizure – Exclusionary rule – good faith exception

Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Search and Seizure – Exclusionary rule – good faith exception

Where the officers who placed the GPS device on the defendant’s vehicle did so in objectively reasonable reliance on then-existing precedent, the good faith exception applies and renders exclusion of the evidence an inappropriate remedy.

“In this case, at the time that the officers installed the GPS device on Oberst’s car, binding appellate precedent in Wisconsin held that ‘no Fourth Amendment search or seizure occurs when police attach a GPS device to the outside of a vehicle while it is in a place accessible to the public and then use the device to track the vehicle while it is in public view.’ State v. Sveum, 2009 WI App 81, ¶19, 319 Wis. 2d 498, 769 N.W.2d 53 (Sveum I). Because we determined that such circumstances did not constitute a search, we found police did not require a warrant prior to the installation of a GPS device. Id., ¶6. Although Jones overruled this holding from Sveum I while Oberst’s case was pending before the trial court, ‘the good faith exception precludes application of the exclusionary rule where officers conduct a search in objectively reasonable reliance upon clear and settled Wisconsin precedent that is later deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.’ Dearborn, 327 Wis. 2d 252, ¶4. The good faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies in this case, and the trial court properly denied Oberst’s motion to suppress.”


Recommended for publication in the official reports.

2013AP1910-CR State v. Oberst

Dist. II, Kenosha County, Milisauskas, J., Reilly, J.

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