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Neither stop of vehicle nor request for driver’s license was unreasonable

State v. Bradley Edward Magdzas, 2014AP250-CR, District 3, 8/5/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

The police had reasonable suspicion to stop Magdzas and, once he was stopped, could reasonably ask him for his name and identification.

Police investigating an incident involving one Kauther and a state trooper went to Kauther’s home to try to find him. A car pulled up behind one of the police cars and “revved’ the engine loudly. When the officer moved the car pulled into Kauther’s driveway. Thinking it might be Kauther, the police stopped the car and asked the driver–who was Magdzas, not Kauther–for ID. Magdzas was later arrested for driving while intoxicated. (¶¶2-9).

This stop was reasonable, and is different than the one found unlawful in State v. Young, 212 Wis. 2d 417, 569 N.W.2d 84 (Ct. App. 1997):

¶16 …. First, the facts and circumstances in this case are entirely different from the situation in Young. In this case, officers were at a suspect’s house located off a gravel road in a rural area at approximately 2:30 a.m. The officers were looking for a suspect who had just left a trooper’s residence after threatening the occupants. Although the suspect’s vehicle was one of several parked in the suspect’s driveway, the house was dark. A vehicle then came up behind the officer’s squad car, began “revving” its engine, and turned into the suspect’s driveway. Given these facts and the rational inferences derived from these facts, we conclude that, under the totality of the circumstances, it was reasonable for [Officer] Bethards to believe that the suspect, who had just threatened the trooper at his house, was returning home and was revving his engine to indicate he was still angry at law enforcement.

So, too, was the officer’s request for Magdzas’s name and identification:

¶20 …[E]ven if we assume that once Bethards came to Magdzas’s driver window he immediately realized Magdzas was not Kauther, Bethards would have still been permitted to ask Magdzas for his driver’s license based on State v. Williams, 2002 WI App 306, 258 Wis. 2d 395, 655 N.W.2d 462. … We … concluded that, because Williams had been lawfully stopped, it was reasonable for the officer to ask Williams for his name and identification, even if at the time the officer made this request, the officer knew Williams was not the domestic abuse suspect. Id., ¶¶18, 21-22. We concluded the request for identification did not transform the lawful stop into an unlawful seizure. Id., ¶¶21-22.

¶21 In this case, because we concluded Bethards lawfully stopped Magdzas’s vehicle, it was reasonable for Bethards to ask Magdzas for his name and identification, even if at the time Bethards made this request, he knew Kauther was not driving. See id., ¶¶18, 21-22.

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