WI Court of Appeals – District I
Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Robert Lee Banks
Case No.: 2021AP000891-CR
Officials: Brash, C.J., Donald, P.J., and White, J.
Focus: Motion to Suppress Confession
According to the criminal complaint, a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputy stopped a silver Kia Sportage in Milwaukee for unsafe passing when it passed a vehicle at a traffic light on the right while the other vehicle was also going straight. The deputy detained the driver and made contact with Banks, who was the front-seat passenger in the vehicle. Because neither the driver nor Banks had a valid driver’s license, the deputy determined that the vehicle would need to be towed. With the driver’s consent, the deputy searched the vehicle and found a 9mm handgun in the glove box. Because both the driver and Banks were convicted felons, the deputy arrested both of them.
The State of Wisconsin appeals from the circuit court order granting Robert Lee Banks’s motion to suppress his confession to cocaine possession during a law enforcement interrogation interview. Banks moved to suppress because the video recording of his custodial interview including an alleged confession was irretrievably deleted from the Milwaukee County Criminal Information Bureau (CIB) computer system. The State argues that the deletion was not in bad faith or with official animus, even if the recording was potentially exculpatory; therefore, the circuit court improperly excluded the deputies’ testimony about the interview. The State routinely proves to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty even without the use of a confession.