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Search & Seizure – Liability for Crime in Response to Claimed Illegal Police Action

State v. Christopher A. Anderson, 2011AP124-CR, District 2, 10/19/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Anderson: Anthony J. Jurek; case activity

¶1        In this case, Christopher A. Anderson was arrested for disorderly conduct while at a hospital.  He contends that because police had no probable cause to take him from his home and bring him to the hospital, his seizure was illegal and, therefore, evidence of his loud, combative and boorish behavior afterward must be suppressed since it was tainted by the illegal seizure.  His argument is plainly contrary to the law in this state, which holds that a combative or loutish response to a seizure, even if the seizure is unlawful, is a separate crime in and of itself.  See State v. Annina, 2006 WI App 202, ¶19, 296 Wis. 2d 599, 723 N.W.2d 708.  We affirm.

¶5        Anderson spends much time telling us what Annina stands for. We know what the case stands for.  We wrote it.  In that case, we clearly and plainly (or at least we thought it was clear and plain until this appeal) explained that even if the police had no lawful authority to confront the defendant, the defendant’s reflexive conduct in response, if it violates the law, is grounds for arrest.  See Annina, 296 Wis. 2d 599, ¶19. …

Yikes. The court goes on to discuss Annina and like authority at some length, and with unconcealed exasperation. Keep in mind, though, that Annina itself distinguishes disorderly conduct from obstructing/resisting (which requires police exercise of “lawful authority”), and leaves for another day whether a citizen can be guilty of resisting an arrest unsupported by probable cause. 2006 WI App 202 ¶18. To be sure, that problem is presented here neither on the law (disorderly conduct contains no element equivalent to “lawful authority”) nor the facts (the crime occurred at quite some remove in time and place from the alleged unlawful entry and arrest).

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