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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District I

April 9, 2019

State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Calvin Lee Brown, Defendant-Appellant.

         Not recommended for publication in the official reports.

          APPEAL from a judgment and an order of the circuit court for Milwaukee County: No. 2016CF4327 JEFFREY A. WAGNER, Judge. Affirmed.

          Before Kessler, P.J., Brennan and Dugan, JJ.

          KESSLER, P.J.

         ¶1 Calvin Lee Brown appeals a judgment of conviction, entered upon guilty pleas, to one count of possession of heroin with intent to deliver and one count of human trafficking. Brown also appeals the order denying his postconviction motion for relief. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 On September 23, 2016, Brown was charged with one count of possession of heroin with intent to deliver, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, one count of keeping a place of prostitution, two counts of human trafficking, and one count of keeping a place of prostitution as a party to a crime.

         ¶3 According to the criminal complaint, on September 20, 2016, J.R.R. told Detective Nick Stachula of the West Allis Police Department that she was a drug addict and was held against her will at Brown's West Allis residence for six days. She said that she went to the residence to visit a friend, Valarie Miller, but when she arrived, Brown took her phone and her purse and supplied her with cocaine and heroin. J.R.R. overdosed at one point. While she was unconscious, Miller took pictures of her in her underwear and posted them on a prostitution solicitation website. She further told Stachula that Brown wanted her to engage in prostitution in exchange for drugs and that Brown stored drugs in Tupperware located either in the living room or a locked refrigerator.

         ¶4 That same day, Detective Jerritt Mees conducted a follow-up interview with J.R.R. J.R.R. provided Mees with more details about her time at Brown's house, including Brown's distribution of drugs to the women in the house and the location of the drugs.

         ¶5 Stachula applied for a search warrant of Brown's residence. In the affidavit, Stachula described his experience and his interview with J.R.R. Stachula also stated that J.R.R. provided him with the phone number used to set up prostitution dates. West Allis police checked the website described by J.R.R. and saw several advertisements using the phone number provided by J.R.R., including an advertisement using a picture of an unconscious J.R.R. in her underwear. Stachula's affidavit also stated that he asked a West Allis police officer to conduct surveillance of Brown's residence while Stachula continued his investigation. The officer observed several occupants of the residence enter a vehicle parked in front of the residence. The vehicle was registered to Brown and had an emissions suspension. The officer conducted a traffic stop and ultimately arrested Brown and Miller. Stachula's affidavit further stated that he made contact with Brown after his arrest and asked for consent to search Brown's residence. Brown refused consent.

         ¶6 The search warrant was subsequently executed. At Brown's residence, officers found ledgers containing service prices and ads for the prostitution website, as well as a plastic container containing unused condoms, lubricants, and lotion. Inside a locked refrigerator, they found two Tupperware containers. One contained $2500 in currency. The other contained plastic bags with heroin and cocaine. In addition, officers found syringes, cotton balls, tourniquets, a burnt spoon, baking soda, sandwich bags, a scale, and paperwork connecting Brown to the residence.

         ¶7 Brown moved to suppress the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant. Brown argued that the warrant lacked probable cause because Stachula's affidavit: (1) did not establish J.R.R.'s reliability and credibility; (2) contained stale information; (3) lacked sufficient information to support suspicion of possible prostitution activity; and (4) "contained intentional or reckless omissions of fact, the inclusion of which would have negated probable cause." Specifically, Brown alleged that the affidavit omitted the fact that the circuit court had issued a bench warrant for J.R.R.'s arrest on September 9, 2016, based on J.R.R.'s violation of a deferred prosecution agreement in a drug case. Brown also claimed that J.R.R. did not report that Brown was holding her against her will until after officers arrested her on September 20, 2016.

         ¶8 The circuit court denied Brown's motion without an evidentiary hearing, stating, "I don't see any problems … with the fact that the warrant was issued based upon the facts that were contained as alleged in the affidavit." Brown subsequently pled guilty to two charges-one count of possession with intent to deliver heroin and one count of human trafficking.[1]

         ¶9 Brown filed a postconviction motion, arguing, as relevant to this appeal, that he was entitled to a Franks/Mann hearing.[2] The motion challenged the probable cause of the warrant and J.R.R.'s credibility. Specifically, the motion argued that the warrant failed to include information about J.R.R.'s criminal activity, including a pending drug charge, a failure to appear in court, and an arrest on a bench warrant, among other things. The motion ...


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