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d. Mistake of law

State v. Antonio D. Brown, 2014 WI 69, 7/16/14, affirming a published court of appeals decision; majority opinion by Justice Bradley; case activity Another defense victory!  Police stopped  Brown’s car due to an alleged violation of §347.13(1), which prohibits the operation of a vehicle at night unless its tail lamps are in “good working order.”  In a… Read More

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Question presented: Whether a police officer’s mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop. Lower court opinion: State v. Heien, 737 S.E.2d 351 (N.C. 2012) Docket Scotusblog page Heien was stopped because one of the two brake lights didn’t illuminate when his car slowed down. But… Read More

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Review of a published court of appeals decision; case activity Issue  (composed by the State’s petition for review) In determining the legality of a vehicle stop under the Fourth Amendment, did the court of appeals properly conclude that a tail lamp that is sixty-six percent functional is in “good working order” as required under Wis… Read More

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State v. Donald D. Laufer, 2012AP915, District 2, 4/3/13; court of appeals decision (recommended for publication); case activity The officer’s erroneous reading of Laufer’s license plate, which caused the officer to wrongly believe that the plate might not be registered to the vehicle, nonetheless supported stop of the car under the good-faith rule, adopting the… Read More

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Search & Seizure – Mistake of Law

State v. Pamela L. Hammersley, 2012AP1131-CR, District 2, 9/26/12 court of appeals decision (1-judge, ineligible for publication); case activity Stop of vehicle, assertedly for violating local trespassing ordinance, held not supportable: ¶3        It is settled law that a stop cannot be based on an officer’s mistaken understanding of the law.  State v. Longcore, 226 Wis. 2d 1… Read More

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Traffic stop – tail lamp violation

State v. Antonio D. Brown, 2013 WI App 17, petition for review granted 10/15/13; case activity Police lacked probable cause to stop Brown for a defective tail lamp, § 347.13, based on one unlit bulb (out of four) in the tail lamp assembly: ¶19 The parties agree with the circuit court’s finding that the police… Read More

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Traffic Stop – Temporary Plate

City of Sheboygan v. Kathy L. Reindl-Knaak, 2011AP1090, District 2, 11/2/11 court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Reindl-Knaal: Casey J. Hoff; case activity ¶7        The parties do not dispute that Reindl-Knaak’s vehicle had an expired front license plate, that the temporary plate affixed to the rear of the vehicle was later determined to… Read More

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Traffic Stop – Mistake of Fact

County of Sheboygan v. Jeffrey L. Bubolz, 2010AP2997, District 2, 4/6/11 court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Bubolz: Casey J. Hoff; case activity Ignoring a warning sign that a road is closed except to local traffic creates reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, even though the sign was an “unofficial” one put… Read More

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