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Police didn’t violate Fifth or Sixth Amendment in taking statement of defendant cited for forfeiture offense

State v. Thaddeus M. Lietz, 2013AP1283-CR, District 3, 5/20/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

Leitz’s statements to police were not obtained in violation of either the Fifth or Sixth Amendment, so the circuit court properly denied his suppression motion.

Lietz had been issued a forfeiture citation for trespass in Waukesha county when Appleton Police Officer Tauber questioned Lietz about other aspects of the incident that had come to light. (¶¶2-4). This questioning did not violate the Sixth Amendment:

 19    …. “The Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches upon formal commencement of prosecution, here in Wisconsin, upon filing of the criminal complaint or issuance of a warrant.” State v. Harris, 199 Wis. 2d 227, 235 n.3, 544 N.W.2d 545 (1996). Lietz was issued a forfeiture citation the day before Tauber questioned him—he was not charged in a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, Lietz’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel had not attached at the time Tauber questioned him.

Tauber’s questioning didn’t violate Lietz’s Fifth Amendment rights, either. First, while Lietz was on extended supervision at the time of questioning. Tauber didn’t know before he questioned Lietz that Lietz’s agent had placed a hold on Lietz; further, while Lietz’s rules required him to coöperate with law enforcement, his agent did not direct him to talk to Tauber or face revocation. See State v. Spaeth, 2012 WI 95, 343 Wis. 2d 220, 819 N.W.2d 769. (¶¶9-10, 21). And, because Lietz wasn’t in custody when Tauber questioned him, the absence of Miranda warnings doesn’t require suppression of his statement. (¶¶5-7, 9-12, 22-23).

Finally, Lietz’s enhanced misdemeanor sentence—12 months of initial confinement and six months of extended supervision—is legal under State v. Lasanske2014 WI App 26, 353 Wis. 2d 280, 844 N.W.2d 417. (¶¶13, 28-30).

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