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Arrest – police officer acting outside of his jurisdiction; fresh pursuit versus mutual aid, § 175.40(2) and (6); sufficiency of evidence of fresh pursuit

Village of Spring Green v. Michael D. Deignan, 2012AP1303, District 4, 2/28/13; court of appeals decision (1-judge, ineligible for publication); case activity

The court of appeals rejects the claim that § 175.40(6), which authorizes an officer to arrest or provide aid or assistance anywhere in the state under written inter-agency agreements, should govern the lawfulness of defendant’s arrest because it is more specific than Wis. Stat. § 175.40(2), which authorizes an officer to arrest while engaging “in fresh pursuit” anywhere in the state:

¶14      …. The two statutes address different exercises of extra-territorial authority by peace officers in the state. Neither is more specific than the other; in each the legislature provided the parameters for officers to act outside their jurisdictions in distinctly different scenarios. Accordingly, Deignan’s argument that § 175.40(6) rather than § 175.40(2) must apply because it is the more specific of two statutes that address the same subject matter, fails.

Deignan’s argument is that the two statutes concern the same subject matter and, therefore, the more specific statute applies. (¶¶8, 10). But the rule that a more specific statute controls over a more general statute applies where statutes conflict, State ex rel. Hensley v. Endicott, 2001 WI 105, ¶19, 245 Wis. 2d 607, 629 N.W.2d 686, because if the statutes don’t conflict, both can and should be given effect. The court concludes the fresh pursuit and mutual aid statutes don’t conflict because they address different situations and impose different requirements relevant to those distinct situations. So if fresh pursuit justified the arrest, the lack of justification under the mutual aid statute doesn’t matter.

A Village of Spring Green police officer was authorized to stop and arrest the defendant outside the village limits because he was in fresh pursuit under § 175.40(2) and case law, e.g. City of Brookfield v. Collar, 148 Wis. 2d 839, 436 N.W.2d 911 (Ct. App. 1989):

¶18      Havlik’s pursuit and stop of Deignan’s vehicle met the three elements of fresh pursuit. Havlik continued to follow Deignan after Deignan deviated across the center traffic lane on Highway 14 in the Village of Spring Green, and after Havlik observed erratic driving and evasive behavior. While Havlik did not immediately initiate the traffic stop, no unnecessary delay occurred, as Havlik was waiting to confirm with Sauk County dispatch that there were no available deputies at that time. Second, Havlik’s pursuit was continuous and uninterrupted because he followed Deignan from the time Havlik first observed suspicious driving until the time he initiated the traffic stop. Finally, although Havlik did not initiate the traffic stop immediately after observing Deignan cross the center line, the circumstances justify the small lapse in time before the extrajurisdictional arrest was made. As previously noted, Havlik was waiting for Sauk County dispatch to confirm that there were no deputies with jurisdiction to initiate the traffic stop. Once confirmation was made, Havlik promptly initiated the traffic stop. Because Havlik’s actions met the three elements of fresh pursuit, Havlik had authority under Wis. Stat. § 175.40(2) to stop and arrest Deignan.

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