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Violation of Uniform Law on Close Pursuit doesn’t merit suppression

State v. Anthony H. Garbacz, Jr., 2017AP1419, 5/3/18, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

A Prairie du Chien police officer saw Garbacz driving erratically and tried to stop him. Garbacz didn’t stop, instead heading over the bridge to Iowa with the officer in pursuit. Some Iowa squads joined the chase and eventually Garbacz was arrested. He was not, however, taken before a judge in Iowa to determine the legality of the arrest–he was taken back to Wisconsin and charged with OWI. That’s a violation of Iowa’s Uniform Law on Close Pursuit, and Garbacz argues evidence derived from his arrest must thus be suppressed.

Wisconsin, like other states, has a similar law, but the arrest was in Iowa so it’s the Iowa law that matters. The court of appeals relies on an Iowa Supreme Court decision–State v. Dentler, 742 N.W.2d 84 (Iowa 2007), which actually interpreted Missouri‘s version of the law, relying in part on a Nebraska Supreme Court case interpreting Iowa’s. Got it? The court here views this as the ” functional equivalent of an interpretation by the Iowa Supreme Court of its own statute.” (¶9).

What Dentler says is that violations of the requirement that an arrestee be taken before an in-state judge don’t require suppression, because the requirement isn’t about protecting the arrestee’s rights: it’s there “to vindicate the sovereign rights of the [state of arrest]. To the extent an ox is being gored in this case, it belongs to [the state].”

The circuit court relied on Dentler, and despite this Garbacz didn’t mention it in his opening brief and didn’t file a reply, so the court of appeals finds he’s “essentially conceded” the case controls, and thus affirms his conviction. (¶12).

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