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Search & Seizure – Applicability of Exclusionary Rule — Violation of Nonconstitutional Right – Statutory Building Inspection Procedure

State v. Albert Jackowski, 2001 WI App 187
For Jackowski: Ronald C. Shiroka

Issue: Whether violation of a statutory requirement for issuance of a building inspection warrant (namely, the § 66.0119(2) condition that such a warrant be issued only upon showing that consent to enter was refused) supports suppression of evidence obtained after entry under the warrant.

Holding:

¶17. We accept, however, the State’s alternative argument that refusal of consent is not a constitutional requirement for issuance of an administrative warrant, and suppression is not available as a remedy for a “mere” statutory violation. As we have recently explained, numerous Wisconsin “cases stand for the proposition that the exclusionary rule is applicable in civil and criminal proceedings only where the evidence sought to be excluded was obtained in violation of a constitutional right or a statute that specifically requires suppression of wrongfully or illegally obtained evidence as a sanction.” State ex. rel. Peckham v. Krenke, 229 Wis. 2d 778, 787, 601 N.W.2d 287 (Ct. App. 1999).

¶18. We have discussed above the Fourth Amendment standard for the issuance of administrative inspection warrants, and a refusal of consent is not within it. When the Supreme Court noted in Camara that “it seems likely that warrants should normally be sought only after entry is refused,” it was not discussing the requirements for warrant issuance. The Court was simply explaining, at the end of its opinion, why its holding would not prove unduly burdensome to municipal building code enforcement. See Camara, 387 U.S. at 539-40. Thus, we conclude that the lack of an averment that consent to inspect had been refused is a statutory violation only, not an omission of constitutional dimension requiring suppression as a remedy. Finally, we note that Wis. Stat. § 66.0119 (or its predecessor, see footnote 3) does not specifically require suppression of any evidence obtained in violation of its provisions.

 

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