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Community Caretaker – Test – Generally

State v. Todd Lee Kramer, 2009 WI 14, affirming 2008 WI App 62
For Kramer: Stephen J. Eisenberg, Marsha M. Lysen

Issue/Holding: The 3-factor test for determining validity of community caretaker intervention, as articulated by State v. Anderson, 142 Wis.  2d 162, 167, 417 N.W.2d 411 (Ct. App. 1987), and the lead opinion of State v. Kelsey C.R., 2001 WI 54, is adopted:

¶21      Subsequently, the court of appeals set out a three-step test for evaluating claims of police community caretaker functions in Anderson I, which we conclude provides a satisfactory analysis. Anderson I explained this test:

[W]hen a community caretaker function is asserted as justification for the seizure of a person, the trial court must determine: (1) that a seizure within the meaning of the fourth amendment has occurred; (2) if so, whether the police conduct was bona fide community caretaker activity; and (3) if so, whether the public need and interest outweigh the intrusion upon the privacy of the individual. [8]

Anderson I, 142 Wis.  2d at 169. This three-step test was applied in the lead opinion inKelsey C.R., 243 Wis.  2d 422, ¶35, and it has been applied in subsequent court of appeals opinions. See, e.g.Ziedonis, 287 Wis.  2d 831, ¶14; State v. Paterson, 220 Wis.  2d 526, 533-34, 583 N.W.2d 190 (Ct. App. 1998).

Footnote 8 is explicit: “… we choose to expressly adopt the lead opinion in Kelsey C.R. and the three-step test Kelsey C.R. employed.”

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