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Obstructing, § 946.41 – Sufficiency of Evidence

State v. Roy B. Ismert, No. 2009AP1971-CR, District IV, 7/1/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge; not for publication); for Ismert: Kristen D. Schipper; BiC; Resp.; Reply

The evidence was sufficient to support the obstructing element that Ismert knew the police officer had legal authority to stop, question and arrest him.

¶14 We conclude that Lossman and Grobstick are persuasive on the facts before us. Like the officer in Lossman, Officer Richardson testified that at the time of his contact with Ismert, he was operating a marked squad car. His official vehicle supports the finding that a reasonable person would believe the officer possessed the lawful authority to stop and question him or her. Ismert contends that since the jury was not told whether Richardson informed him of the existence of the arrest warrants at the initiation of their contact, the jury’s finding was unreasonable. Ismert argues that his false statements, coupled with the fact that he did not run away from the officer while he was in the restaurant, shows Ismert did not know Richardson had the lawful authority to arrest him. However, while this is one inference the jury may have drawn, it was not required to draw that inference. Ismert’s evasive conduct, like the conduct in Grobstick, could reasonably be interpreted as a method for preventing his lawful arrest.

The officer stopped Ismert (who then gave a false name) because of an outstanding arrest warrant. The court rejects Ismert’s argument that, in order to prove his knowledge of the officer’s lawful authority, the State had to prove Ismert’s knowledge the warrant was lawful, ¶15.

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