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Circuit court’s findings that driver made unexplained swerve into wrong lane were not clearly erroneous

State v. Mark Alan Tralmer, 2015AP715-CR, District 4, 10/8/15 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The circuit court’s implicit rejection of Tralmer’s suppression hearing testimony and acceptance of the police officer’s contrary testimony were not clearly erroneous and therefore must be upheld on appeal, State v. Arias, 2008 WI 84, ¶12, 311 Wis. 2d 358, 752 N.W.2d 748. Accordingly, the circuit court properly concluded that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Tralmer for violating § 346.05(1) by swerving into the wrong lane of traffic when there is no obstruction requiring the driver to do so, as allowed under § 346.05(1)(d).

¶12     Tralmer testified that parked cars obstructed his lane. The officer testified that this was not the case. In itself, this was a credibility contest …. Circuit courts generally settle questions of credibility, and Tralmer fails to point to anything inconsistent or inherently suspect in the officer’s testimony.

¶13    Tralmer also testified about photographs and measurements that he himself had allegedly taken, apparently some days after the event and in any case after a new snowfall. Tralmer fails to explain why the circuit court was obligated to place any weight on this testimony in evaluating the competing testimony of the officer and Tralmer about whether Tralmer needed to swerve to avoid hitting or coming too close to the parked cars. For one thing, there was no testimony about how much new snow had fallen, which would have rendered uncertain even timely measurements made by a person other than the accused.

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