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Administrative Searches – Probation/Parole: Reasonableness

State v. Jacob B. Jones, 2008 WI App 154, PFR filed 10/24/08
For Jones: David R. Karpe

Issue/Holding: Entry of a probationer’s residence to effectuate a probation/parole search was reasonable:


¶22      We reject Jones’s argument. As the circuit court found, Trimble was told by Detective Pertzborn that Jones was sexually involved with a fourteen-year-old girl and that Pertzborn had knowledge of nude photographs of Jones and love notes from Jones to the girl. Trimble testified that when she went to Jones’s home, she understood there were probably nude photographs of the girl in his possession. Further, Jones admitted that he had a marijuana pipe in the room that he was trying to hide. Jones does not dispute these facts, and we are satisfied that the court’s factual findings are not clearly erroneous.

¶23      The circuit court’s findings of historical fact demonstrate Trimble’s compliance with the provisions of Wis. Admin. Code § DOC 328.21(7) (Dec. 2006). First, she had received information from a reliable informant. In Griffin, 131 Wis. 2d at 62, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that a tip from a police officer that the probationer had or may have had contraband constituted the requisite reasonable grounds to perform a probation search. Thus, this factor alone was sufficient to constitute reasonable grounds for the search. In addition, Trimble’s observations of Jones’s demeanor prior to the search, coupled with his admission that a marijuana pipe was in his room contributed additional reasonable grounds for the ensuing probation search. Based on the circuit court’s findings, we conclude that the search was based on reasonable grounds.

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