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Reasonable Suspicion – Stop/Detention – Duration/Intensity – Handcuffed, Placed in Squad in Absence of Suspected Weapons

State v. Sameeh J. Pickens, 2010 WI App 5, reconsideration denied 1/20
For Pickens: Eileen A. Hirsch, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue/Holding: A temporary detention is narrowly circumscribed, in terms of duration and intensity, by the least intrusive means necessary to dispel suspicion¸¶27. Thus, in the absence of any reason to believe weapons were present, use of handcuffs on Griffin was unjustified, ¶30.

¶33   In sum, we conclude that the State failed to show that the level of restraint used to detain Pickens was reasonable because the State points to no specific, articulable facts that justify handcuffing and securing Pickens in a squad car. In the absence of any other developed argument supporting admission of evidence obtained from Pickens in the parking lot, we conclude that that evidence must be suppressed.[5]

Court observes that “(a) number of courts have concluded that police exceeded the permissible scope of a temporary detention in circumstances that we find at least as compelling as those here,” and proceeds to catalog them, ¶33 n. 5. Import: long-delayed recognition that handcuffing/squad placement may well convert stop into full-blown arrest.

The court declines to resolve definitively whether suspected drug activity alone justifies handcuffing, but cautions “that our research indicates that we would likely reject such an argument,” ¶31.

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