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Custody — Detention During Execution of Search Warrant — Effect of Handcuffing After Questioning

State v. Susan M. Goetz, 2001 WI App 294
For Goetz: Nila J. Robinson

Issue: Whether a person, detained during execution of a search warrant but not handcuffed until after questioning, was in custody for Miranda purposes.

Holding: A suspect detained during execution of a search warrant isn’t in custody under Miranda. ¶12. In this case, Goetz was told she was neither under arrest nor would be arrested unless she interfered with the search. A reasonable person in this circumstance wouldn’t have felt restrained to the degree associated with formal arrest (and, therefore, in custody under Miranda). ¶13. Although she was handcuffed after questioning terminated, the “retroactive” effect of this act is nil, “because a reasonable person’s perception at the time of questioning cannot be affected by later police activity.” ¶15.

The dissent would reject federal authorities “that hold that a person who is ‘detained’ during the execution of a search warrant is not in custody for purposes of Miranda,” ¶22, in preference to a more expansive view of state constitutional protection, ¶25. The majority doesn’t reject that view; indeed, the majority finds it “compelling,” ¶18. However, Goetz hasn’t made a state constitutional argument, and the majority therefore declines to reach the issue. Id.


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