Castillo refused to submit to a chemical test for intoxication and subsequently challenged the revocation of his driver’s license. In doing so, however, Castillo claims only that he was unlawfully seized prior to his refusal and that the unlawful seizure should result in the suppression of the evidence. The court of appeals and the state agree that Castillo was unlawfully seized, but Castillo’s suppression claim fails because “there was no form of misconduct by the deputy and exclusion would not “appreciably deter” any form of police misconduct.” (Op., ¶3).
It’s safe to say Castillo was in the wrong place at the wrong time. While a patrol deputy was traveling westbound on Highway 16, he observed an eastbound vehicle with its high beam lights on. The deputy initiated a U-turn with the intention of pulling over this “target vehicle,” but before the deputy could do so, Castillo’s vehicle got between the target vehicle and the deputy. The deputy followed both vehicles for about a mile, but was unable to pass Castillo’s vehicle in order to get behind the target vehicle to initiate his planned traffic stop. So, the deputy activated his emergency lights and both vehicles pulled over. Because Castillo did not leave enough room for the deputy to pull his squad car behind the target vehicle, the deputy pulled up behind Castillo. Under the circumstances, the state and court agree Castillo was stopped without reasonable suspicion regardless of the deputy’s subjective intent to only stop the target vehicle.
After the deputy exited his squad car, but before he made contact with the target vehicle, the deputy made contact with Castillo. The court presumes that the only basis for this contact was to inform Castillo that he was free to go on his way. (Op., ¶24). However, even before the deputy reached Castillo’s vehicle, the deputy observed a window being lowered and smelled a “strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the direction of Castillo’s vehicle.” The rest is history.
Castillo does not argue that the deputy engaged in any form of police misconduct or that suppression would “appreciably deter” any form of misconduct. See State v. Burch, 2021 WI 68, ¶17, 398 Wis. 2d 1, 961 N.W.2d 314; Davis v. United States, 564 U.S. 229, 237 (2011). While the court agrees that the seizure of Castillo was not supported by reasonable suspicion, the “deputy’s conduct was objectively reasonable” and exclusion of the evidence of Castillo’s subsequent refusal is not necessary.