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Stop – Basis – Reasonable Suspicion, “Problem Area,” “Lingering” in Car

State v. Charles E. Young, 2006 WI 98, affirming 2004 WI App 227
For Young: Martha K. Askins, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue/Holding: The police had reasonable suspicion to stop Young because: he was in a parked car with Illinois plates, which had “lingered” for 5 or 10 minutes around midnight around the corner from a bar, in a “problem area”:

¶64      Although there are innocent explanations for why five people would be sitting in a car for five to 10 minutes, Alfredson was not required to rule out all these potential explanations before initiating his investigation. The officer described the particular facts that made him suspicious and linked those facts to his seven years of experience patrolling the neighborhood. At the time Alfredson stopped his squad car, turned on his flashers, and illuminated Young’s car, we think there were sufficient facts for Alfredson to initiate an investigatory stop. [17]


 [17]  The court of appeals believed it was doubtful whether Alfredson had reasonable suspicion to detain Young and the occupants of the car based on these facts. Young, 277 Wis. 2d 715, ¶10 n.4.

“Lingering” in a car parked 5-10 minutes? Guess what the court would’ve concluded had the car taken off at first sight of the marked squad? Yep, that would’ve been “police avoidance” behavior and suspicious on that account. And Illinois plates raise a suspicion in the border county of Kenosha?)

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