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State v. Delap

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

June 6, 2018

State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Steven T. Delap, Defendant-Appellant-Petitioner.

          Submitted on Briefs: oral argument: March 12, 2018

          Source of Appeal Circuit Court Dodge County No. 2015CM408 Steven G. Bauer Judge

         REVIEW OF A DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS Reported at 375 Wis.2d 799, 899 N.W.2d 738 (2017 - Unpublished)

          For the defendant-appellant-petitioner, there were briefs and an oral argument by Michael J. Herbert, Madison.

          For the plaintiff-respondent there was a brief and an oral argument by Jennifer R. McNamee, assistant attorney general, with whom on the brief was Brad D. Schimel, attorney general.

          SHIRLEY S. ABRAHAMSON, J.

         ¶1 This is a review of an unpublished decision of the court of appeals affirming a judgment of conviction of the Circuit Court for Dodge County, Steven G. Bauer, Judge.[1] Steven Delap, the defendant, was convicted of obstructing an officer in violation of Wis.Stat. § 946.41(1) and possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of Wis.Stat. § 961.573(1), both as a repeater.

         ¶2 In the circuit court, the defendant claimed that his arrest was unlawful and that the evidence seized should be suppressed. The defendant argued that law enforcement officers, who had two valid warrants for his arrest, unlawfully attempted to stop him in the driveway of his home, unlawfully pursued him into his home to effectuate his arrest, and unlawfully seized evidence obtained from a search incident to his arrest.

         ¶3 The defendant claims that the arrest and subsequent search violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution.

         ¶4 The circuit court denied the defendant's motion to suppress the evidence. The circuit court concluded that the hot pursuit doctrine permitted the law enforcement officers in the instant case to follow the defendant into his home to effectuate his arrest. Relying on the hot pursuit doctrine, the court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress evidence.

         ¶5 We affirm the decision of the court of appeals, but on grounds different than those relied upon by the circuit court and court of appeals. We conclude that the instant case is governed by Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980), and we need not address the applicability of the hot pursuit doctrine.[2]

         ¶6 In Payton, the United States Supreme Court declared that "for Fourth Amendment purposes, an arrest warrant founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives when there is reason to believe the suspect is within." Payton, 445 U.S. at 603.

         ¶7 In the instant case, law enforcement officers had two valid arrest warrants based on probable cause for the arrest of the defendant. The facts and circumstances known to the officers at the time they located the defendant were sufficient to form probable cause to believe that the individual they saw entering the residence was the defendant and that the defendant lived in the residence into which he fled.

         ¶8 Thus, applying the teachings of Payton, we conclude that the law enforcement officers in the instant case lawfully entered the defendant's residence to execute the two valid warrants for the defendant's arrest and lawfully seized evidence discovered in the search incident to the defendant's arrest.[3]

         ¶9 Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the court of appeals.

         I

         ¶10 The following facts are taken from the testimony elicited at the hearing on the defendant's motion to suppress evidence and from the circuit court's findings based on that testimony.

         ¶11 On September 6, 2015, Sergeant Michael Willmann and Deputy Dustin Waas of the Dodge County Sheriff's Department arrested the defendant in his home.

         ¶12 Approximately one month prior to the defendant's arrest, Sergeant Willmann overheard that his colleague, Deputy John Gallenbeck, "conduct[ed] a traffic stop on a vehicle where the driver subsequently fled from the vehicle and went into a wooded area and deputies were unable to locate him." Deputy Gallenbeck had learned from a passenger in the vehicle that the fleeing driver "was Steven Delap [the defendant] and that he was living at 110 Milwaukee Street in Neosho."

         ¶13 Approximately one week prior to the defendant's arrest, Sergeant Willmann "received a teletype correspondence from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office stating that [the defendant] was involved in a very similar incident . . . where he had fled from a traffic stop in the same type of manner." The teletype indicated that the defendant lived at 110 Milwaukee Street.

         ¶14 Sergeant Willmann ran the defendant's name through Wisconsin Department of Transportation and National Crime Information Center files which turned up two valid and outstanding warrants for the defendant's arrest: one through Jefferson County and another through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Because of the defendant's prior history of fleeing police, Sergeant Willmann requested that Deputy Waas accompany him to arrest the defendant pursuant to the two arrest warrants.

         ¶15 At about 10:00 p.m. on September 6, 2015, Sergeant Willmann and Deputy Waas went to 110 Milwaukee Street in Neosho to arrest the defendant pursuant to the two outstanding arrest warrants. Sergeant Willmann was in full uniform: green pants, tan shirt, patches, a badge, and a duty belt. The officers parked about a block away from 110 Milwaukee Street out of concern that the defendant "would either run or not answer the door" if they parked closer. They left their vehicles and walked down Milwaukee Street, counting down the numbers on the houses as they went. Sergeant Willman recalled that the last building number he counted was 120 before seeing the final building on the 100 block of Milwaukee Street. That building was a duplex, and based on his counting, Sergeant Willmann believed that one of the two doors at the duplex had to be 110 Milwaukee Street.

         ¶16 When Sergeant Willmann walked "towards what [he] believed [was] the residence, " he saw a man standing next to a car parked on Milwaukee Street and another man walking down the driveway in front of the duplex towards that car. As Sergeant Willmann and Deputy Waas approached, the man who was walking down the driveway turned and looked at the officers before turning around and running towards the back of the duplex. Sergeant Willmann shined his flashlight on the individual and shouted, "Stop, police!" but the man did not stop and instead continued running towards the back of the duplex.

         ¶17 Sergeant Willmann gave chase. Based upon the man's proximity to 110 Milwaukee Street and his reaction upon seeing the two police officers, Sergeant Willmann believed that the fleeing man was the defendant, Steven Delap.

         ¶18 When the man got to the rear door of the residence, he went inside and began shutting the door. Sergeant Willmann used his shoulder to "keep the door from latching completely shut." Sergeant Willmann and the man pushed back and forth on the door until Deputy Waas joined Sergeant Willmann. The two police officers together pushed the door open.

         ¶19 At some point, one of the officers pulled out his Taser, "got [the defendant] to the ground, [and] got [the defendant] in cuffs." After the arrest, the fleeing individual was identified as Steven Delap, the defendant.

         ¶20 A subsequent search incident to the defendant's arrest revealed three syringes and a silver tube used for smoking crack cocaine in the defendant's right cargo pocket.

         ¶21 The defendant was charged with one count of obstructing an officer in violation of Wis.Stat. § 946.41(1) and possession of drug paraphernalia in violation ...


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