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Anonymous tip naming defendant and officer’s own observations combined to support traffic stop

Manitowoc County v. Ryan A. Spatchek, 2013AP986, District 2, 9/25/13; court of appeals decision (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

An anonymous call to police dispatch said Spatchek was operating while intoxicated and that the caller was concerned for his safety and provided verifiable information as to Spatchek’s location  that was later confirmed by a deputy who subsequently found and followed Spatchek and made independent observations of his impaired driving (crossing the fog line approximately three times in one mile; coming up to the center line approximately three times; being unable to stay in his lane for a full minute). (¶¶2-3, 8-9).

¶10      We need not decide if either the call or the driving observations alone would be enough to support the traffic stop. To determine whether there was reasonable suspicion, we look at all of the information [the deputy] had at the time of the stop. [State v.Williams, [2001 WI 21,] 241 Wis. 2d 631, ¶22[, 623 N.W.2d 106]. [The deputy] knew that dispatch had received a call that Spatchek was driving drunk, he knew that the silver pickup truck was registered to Spatchek, and he knew that the person driving the pickup truck registered to Spatchek was weaving and crossing the fog line multiple times in one mile. We agree with the trial court that the totality of the circumstances demonstrates reasonable suspicion to stop Spatchek.

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