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§ 904.01, Relevance – Refusal, OWI

State v. Kurt J. Doerr, 229 Wis.2d 616, 599 N.W.2d 897 (Ct. App. 1999)
For Doerr: John M. Carroll.

Issue/Holding: Doerr argues that evidence of his refusal to take a chemical test was irrelevant, because it occurred at the police station rather than the arrest scene. The argument is rejected: Though refusal evidence is relevant to show the defendant’s awareness that he or she was intoxicated, the evidence wasn’t used in that manner:

Here, the refusal was used to demonstrate Doerr’s conduct toward police and is directly linked to the criminal events charged against Doerr. The evidence involved Doerr’s interaction with the other principal actors, the police officers, followed directly on the heels of Doerr’s battery and resisting arrests, and, most importantly, makes the resisting allegations more probable. SeeUnited States v. Hattaway, 740 F.2d 1419, 1425 (7th Cir. 1984) (holding that evidence of the defendant’s gang lifestyle “was not admitted to prove bad character; rather, it was intricately related to the facts of [the] case”). We conclude that the evidence was relevant and not unduly prejudicial.

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