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Detainers – Violation of Interstate Detainer Act, Failure of Sending State to Notify Prisoner: Dismissal Not Remedy

State v. Jeffrey Townsend, 2006 WI App 177, PFR filed 8/18/06
For Townsend: Ellen Henak, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate

Issue/Holding: Because the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, § 976.05, doesn’t prescribe dismissal as a sanction for a state’s failure to notify a prisoner of a lodged detainer, dismissal as a remedy for such a violation is not supported:

¶17 Any IAD violation was the fault of Illinois, not Wisconsin. In light of this, we believe the extreme remedy of dismissing the Wisconsin charge against Townsend, which is not specifically mandated by the IAD, is not appropriate. We understand the appellant’s frustration with the Illinois prison system’s ineptness that led to a clear violation of the IAD, but the State of Wisconsin did not violate the IAD, and Townsend clearly knew of the Wisconsin charge and chose not to waive extradition and seek a quick resolution. [3] Under these circumstances, it would be contrary to public policy to permit Townsend to escape prosecution on the crime he committed in Wisconsin.¶18 Further, although Townsend contends that the IAD violation prevented him from seeking prompt resolution of the Wisconsin charge so that he could have requested concurrent sentences, he does not allege that he was actually prejudiced by any violation. Namely, he does not assert that for some reason because of the delay he was unable to mount a defense to the Wisconsin charge. Accordingly, Townsend has failed to establish that he was prejudiced by Illinois’ failure to comply with the IAD. See State v. Russo, 70 Wis. 2d 169, 177-78, 233 N.W.2d 485 (1975). [4]

[3] We held in State v. Miller, 2003 WI App 74, ¶11, 261 Wis. 2d 866, 661 N.W.2d 466, that the rights provided by the IAD may be waived. Waiver applies whether or not the defendant is aware of the IAD provisions when the defendant requests treatment inconsistent with IAD’s provisions. Id.[4] The trial court, in its order, addressed the issue of whether Townsend’s speedy trial right had been violated under the circumstances of this case. The trial court concluded that the right had not been violated. We agree with the trial court’s analysis in that regard. Townsend does not specifically challenge this portion of the trial court’s order and therefore, we decline to address it further.

The dissent, among other salient points, reminds that we are, after all, talking about a contract Wisconsin signed on to: “The failure of a ‘party state’ to follow the rules should not exempt Wisconsin from the consequences,” ¶23.


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