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d. Mistake of law

Fond du Lac County v. Isaac Anthony Dahlke, 2017AP1417, District 2, 5/9/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) The stop of Dahlke’s car was unlawful because the officer didn’t have an objectively reasonable belief that Dahlke entered a wayside in violation of an ordinance prescribing hours when the wayside is closed. Dahlke was… Read More

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Village of Bayside v. Ryan Robert Olszewski, 2015AP1033-34; 1/12/15; District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity, including briefs After Heien v. North Carolina and State v. Houghton, everyone predicted lots of litigation about law enforcement’s “reasonable mistakes of law” during traffic stops. This case marks the beginning of it. Olszewski allegedly stopped his van just… Read More

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United States v. Rodolpho Hernandez Flores, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 15-1515, 8/19/15 (per curiam) Hernandez Flores was stopped for driving with an obstructed license plate because his rear plate was affixed to his car by a standard frame that covered the plate’s periphery. The stop violated the Fourth Amendment because it was based on… Read More

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State v. Kim M. Lerdahl, 2014AP2119-CR, District 3, 8/4/15 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) In an interesting decision that sheds some light on how to apply the newly-adopted “reasonable mistake of law” doctrine to traffic stops, State v. Houghton, 2015 WI 79, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___,  the court… Read More

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State v. Richard E. Houghton, 2015 WI 79, 7/14/14, reversing an unpublished court of appeals opinion, 2013AP1581-CR; majority by Prosser, dissent by Abrahamson (joined by Bradley); case activity (including briefs) You’ve seen this before. An officer makes a traffic stop based on a “misunderstanding” of the law, then conducts a search and finds incriminating evidence… Read More

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Review of an unpublished per curiam court of appeals decision; case activity Issue (composed by On Point) Can a police officer’s reasonable mistake of law give rise to reasonable suspicion or probable cause necessary to uphold a seizure under article I, §11 of the Wisconsin constitution? Police stopped Houghton’s car for two reasons: It lacked a front license plate; and the driver’s… Read More

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Heien v. North Carolina, USSC No. 13-604, 2014 WL 7010684 (December 15, 2014), affirming State v. Heien, 737 S.E.2d 351 (N.C. 2012); Scotusblog page (includes links to briefs and commentary) Rejecting the position taken by Wisconsin and the clear majority of jurisdictions that have addressed the issue, the Supreme Court holds that a reasonable mistake of law may give rise… Read More

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State v. Jeramy J. Qualls, 2014AP141-CR, District 2, 10/8/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity Without resolving the burning issue of whether ash from a cigarette violates the Village of Pleasant Prairie’s littering ordinance, the court of appeals holds that a police officer lawfully stopped Qualls’s car because he had reason to believe someone in the car… Read More

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