≡ Menu

State v. Benjamin D. Tarrant, 2009 WI App 121

Guilty plea waiver; detainers

Click here for court of appeals decision 

Defense counsel: Susan E. Alesia, SPD, Madison Appellate


¶6        Waiver. Before addressing the merits, the State argues that Tarrant’s no contest plea constitutes a waiver of all nonjurisdictional defects and defenses. State v. Multaler, 2002 WI 35, ¶54, 252 Wis. 2d 54, 643 N.W.2d 437. The guilty plea waiver rule is a rule of judicial administration and not of power. State v. Riekkoff, 112 Wis. 2d 119, 124, 332 N.W.2d 744 (1983). Therefore, in our discretion we can decline to apply the rule “particularly if the issues are of state-wide importance or resolution will serve the interests of justice and there are no factual issues that need to be resolved.” State v. Grayson, 165 Wis. 2d 557, 561, 478 N.W.2d 390 (Ct. App. 1991), aff’d, 172 Wis. 2d 156, 493 N.W.2d 23 (1992). Whether the State can modify or amend a previously issued detainer to block the application of the IAD has not been addressed in this state and must be resolved. In addition, the issue was rigorously litigated in the circuit court and our resolution will not sandbag the court. Finally, the parties have fully briefed the issue and, as we noted, the historical facts are not in dispute. We therefore turn to the merits of the issue.


¶7        Standard of Review. The resolution of this appeal requires us to interpret the IAD, Wis. Stat. § 976.05, which is a question of law that we review without deference to the circuit court. State v. Blackburn, 214 Wis. 2d 372, 378, 571 N.W.2d 695 (Ct. App. 1997). Our goal in statutory interpretation is to determine and carry out the intent of the legislature. Id. The IAD is a remedial statute and we will construe it liberally in favor of a prisoner. 2 Michael B. Mushlin, Rights of Prisoners § 10.21, at 384 (3d ed. 2002).


¶8        Discussion. The IAD is a congressionally approved interstate compact that establishes procedures for the transfer of a prisoner in one jurisdiction to the temporary custody of another. [2] State v. Grzelak, 215 Wis. 2d 577, 580, 573 N.W.2d 538 (Ct. App. 1997). In order to have consistency with the IAD interpretations of other federal and state courts, we must give considerable weight to federal and states courts’ decisions construing the IAD. State v. Whittemore, 166 Wis. 2d 127, 133, 479 N.W.2d 566 (Ct. App. 1991). And, federal interpretations of the IAD trump state court interpretations because construction of interstate compacts, approved by congress under the Commerce Clause, presents a federal question. Mushlin, § 10.21, at 384-85.


¶1        Benjamin D. Tarrant appeals from the circuit court’s denial of his motion to dismiss criminal charges against him, premised on the State of Wisconsin’s failure to comply with the time limits of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD). We reverse, because the modification of a national arrest warrant, after Tarrant invoked the speedy trial provisions of the IAD, frustrated the principal purpose of the IAD, to protect prisoners by encouraging the prompt and final disposition of untried criminal charges . . .

 ¶22      Conclusion. Once a prisoner has properly requested a prompt and final disposition of pending criminal charges, the only way the State can avoid its obligation to bring the prisoner to trial within 180 days of the request is to dismiss the untried complaint or information. Because Green Lake county only modified the arrest warrant to rule out nationwide extradition and did not withdraw the detainer and dismiss the criminal complaint, the source for Tarrant’s request for a speedy trial was still in existence. Tarrant did not get the prompt and final disposition required by the IAD. Therefore, we reverse his conviction and remand to the circuit court with directions to dismiss the criminal complaint or Information with prejudice as required by Wis. Stat. § 976.05(3)(d). State v. Townsend, 2006 WI App 177, ¶12, 295 Wis. 2d 844, 722 N.W.2d 753.

Summaries of of this and similar cases archived at:  Appellate ProcedureWaiver of Issue, Generally: Court’s Authority to Ignore / Guilty Plea Waiver Rule – Generally, Authority to Ignore/Appellate Procedure – Standard of Review – Detainers/Detainers – Interstate Act, Construction, Generally/Detainers – Interstate Act – Elimination of Extradition Authority, in Response to Request for Speedy Disposition