The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District II has affirmed a trial court’s order to suppress drug evidence obtained following an illegal police search of a Kenosha man’s residence. In an unpublished case, a woman apparently called local police to report the smell of marijuana emanating from her upstairs neighbor’s residence. She also told police the unit was accessed from the rear of the converted single family home.
When law enforcement officials arrived, they reportedly smelled a strong odor of marijuana. At the back of the building, police found an open door behind an unlocked but closed screen door. There was also a doorbell that stated “up” located nearby. After entering the unlocked doors, police apparently came to two closed doors and a staircase. Law enforcement officials climbed the staircase and knocked on the closed door at the top. A man opened the door, and the officers allegedly saw drug paraphernalia in the room behind him. When the man tried to close the door, the officers apparently handcuffed and arrested him. After obtaining a search warrant for the premises, police discovered a variety of drug evidence.
Next, the man was charged with a number of drug crimes. At trial, the man argued the drug evidence was inadmissible because Kenosha police failed to obtain his consent prior to entering the building and proceeding upstairs to his door. The defendant also offered evidence that he had exclusive use of the rear entrance to the building. As a result, the trial court granted the man’s motion to suppress the drug evidence obtained by the police officers. After that, the State of Wisconsin filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District II.
On appeal, the state argued the defendant failed to demonstrate he had a reasonable expectation of privacy related to the rear entry to the building, the officers acted reasonably, and the exclusionary rule should not be applied in the case even if the police did not act reasonably. After examining the facts of the case, the appellate court found that the police officers illegally entered the defendant’s residence because the man had a reasonable privacy expectation related to the rear doors and stairway. In addition, the court stated the exclusionary rule was created in order to deter unlawful conduct like that committed by the police in the case. As a result, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District II held that the trial court properly excluded the drug evidence obtained by the law enforcement officials.
If you were accused of committing a drug crime in Wisconsin, you are advised to discuss your rights with a hardworking criminal lawyer as soon as possible. To speak with a knowledgeable drug crimes attorney, contact the law offices of Reddin & Singer, LLP online or give us a call at 414-271-6400. Our committed Milwaukee criminal lawyers may also be reached using our toll-free number at 888-357-9169.
State v. McNeal, Wis: Court of Appeals, 2nd Dist. 2015
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