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Miranda – Custody

State v. Douglas J. Richer, 2011AP1197-CR, District 3, 12/20/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Richer: Matthew F. Anich, Tyler William Wickman; case activity

Richer wasn’t in custody (to a degree associated with formal arrest) so as to require Miranda warnings:

¶15      Here, Richer’s argument focuses only on the time period before Mathison placed him under arrest for operating while intoxicated. He lists several factors he contends show he was “in custody” for purposes of Miranda.  Specifically, he asserts he was in custody because he “was surrounded by three police vehicles and four officers, had his[] driver’s license taken away, [was] directed to stand in a specific location, was asked accusatorial questions,[5] had his[] vehicle blocked in, [and] was in an isolated, dead-end parking lot.”

¶16      We reject Richer’s characterization of the evidence and conclude Richer was not in custody during Mathison’s initial investigation. First, Mathison’s actions in parking his vehicle behind Richer, asking Richer for his driver’s license, asking him certain questions about whether he was drinking and driving, and asking him to move away from his vehicle to perform field sobriety tests do not rise to the functional equivalent of a formal arrest.  Moreover, that three other officers were present during Mathison’s interaction with Richer does not show he was subject to restraints comparable to those of a formal arrest.  Only one of the other officers had some, if any, interaction with Richer.  Richer was not handcuffed, frisked, physically restrained, or moved to another location.  No officer drew a weapon or made any show of force.  He remained in a public place throughout the entire interaction.  A reasonable person in Richer’s position would not believe his freedom was restricted to a degree associated with a formal arrest.

Factors informing test for custody discussed, ¶¶13-14, principally as articulated by State v. Torkelson, 2007 WI App 272, ¶17-18, 306 Wis. 2d 673, 743 N.W.2d 511 (2007)

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