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Court of appeals upholds stop based on informant’s tip and officer’s observation

Village of Hales Corners v. David E. Adams, 2013AP1128, 1/14/13, District 2  (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

Welcome to another court of appeals decision holding that police had reasonable suspicion to stop a person for drunk driving.  In this particular case, an informant tipped off a police dispatcher, who then informed an officer in the vicinity about a possible drunk driver.  Armed with a vehicle description and a license plate number, the officer found the van in question parked legally at restaurant and observed the driver steadying himself as he exited from it.  The informant remained on the line with the dispatcher the entire time of the stop and ultimately provided his identity and contact information to the police.

The court of appeals held that the informant’s tip was sufficiently reliable to give the arresting officer reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant.  See State v. Williams, 2001 WI 21, ¶36, 241 Wis. 2d 631, 623 N.W.2d 106.

¶20 In sum, the citizen caller’s tip was detailed and made to dispatch contemporaneous to its occurrence while the caller remained on the phone; furthermore, Officer Sayeg corroborated the facts relayed to him by dispatch and independently observed Adams stumbling from the driver’s seat of his vehicle. Because we conclude that those facts form reasonable suspicion for the stop, we affirm.

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