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OWI laws applied to roadways in Boy Scout camp

Kenosha County v. Robert P. Adams, 2015AP2184, District 2, 7/27/16 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Based on evidence adduced at trial, the roadways at Camp Sol R. Crown were “premises held out to the public for use of their motor vehicles” under § 346.61 and the cases interpreting that statute, in particular State v. Tecza, 2008 WI App 79, 312 Wis. 2d 395, 751 N.W.2d 896 (roadways of private, gated community were held out for public use). Thus, Adams’s driving while intoxicated on those roadways was punishable under § 346.63.

¶5      On dates when Camp Sol R. Crown is hosting a function, as it was on October 11, 2014, [the date Adams was there] motorists can drive into the camp without being stopped or questioned. Ten troops were at the camp on that date—approximately 100 people. Adams himself was on the camp premises trying to find his scout troop’s campsite.

¶6     Camp Sol R. Crown is akin to the gated community in Tecza. The camp is clearly a private camp, set aside for Boy Scout activities as well as some non-Boy Scout groups, but like in Tecza, Camp Sol R. Crown does not restrict the public from entering. Camp Sol R. Crown has no gates or signs restricting access, and the camp allows the police to patrol its grounds. A[n] entrance sign on the adjacent highway identifies the property as Camp Sol R. Crown, Boy Scouts of America and does not indicate any restriction to access. The fact that Camp Sol R. Crown has an employee who handles security issues does not remove the “open to the public” status. Like the gated community in Tecza, private security is but one factor to examine. Like Tecza, on any given day, potentially any resident of the community with a driver’s license and access to a motor vehicle can drive into Camp Sol R. Crown. Under the facts of this case, we agree with the circuit court’s conclusion that the roads of Camp Sol R. Crown are on premises held out to the public for use.

Well, “sober” is not one of the twelve points of the Scout Law…. In any event, there’s an alternative theory of liability—that Adams was guilty of OWI because he drove on a “highway” under § 346.02(1) to get into Camp Sol R. Crown—and the court also rejects Adams argument the evidence was insufficient to prove this theory:

¶7     …. Evidence at the trial revealed that Adams drove into the camp from Highway B—a public highway. Adams admitted that he drove his vehicle into the camp. Adams told Deputy Teschler that he did not drink after he came onto the camp property, and Adams stipulated that he was intoxicated while on campground property. A rational fact finder could have found that Adams drove his car on a public highway while intoxicated. ….

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