State v. Johnson, No. 2012AP837–CR.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtREILLY
Citation841 N.W.2d 302,2013 WI App 140,352 Wis.2d 98
Docket NumberNo. 2012AP837–CR.
Decision Date13 November 2013
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff–Respondent, v. Jack E. JOHNSON, Defendant–Appellant.

352 Wis.2d 98
841 N.W.2d 302
2013 WI App 140

STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff–Respondent,
v.
Jack E. JOHNSON, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 2012AP837–CR.

Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.

Submitted on Briefs Sept. 25, 2013.
Opinion Filed Nov. 13, 2013.


[841 N.W.2d 303]


On behalf of the defendant-appellant, the cause was submitted on the brief of Thomas C. Simon of Bucher Law Group, LLC, Delafield.

On behalf of the plaintiff-respondent, the cause was submitted on the brief of Sarah L. Burgundy, assistant attorney general, and J.B. Van Hollen, attorney general.


Before NEUBAUER, P.J., REILLY and GUNDRUM, JJ.

REILLY, J.

¶ 1 Jack E. Johnson appeals his conviction for being party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide on the ground that the warrantless search of his Mexican residence mandated the suppression of evidence obtained in the search. We affirm as the “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule applies. American law enforcement officials were objectively reasonable in seeking out and relying on

[841 N.W.2d 304]

Mexican law enforcement's direction as to the requirements of Mexican law and conducting the search in accordance with those directions.

BACKGROUND

¶ 2 Johnson was charged with first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime after an investigation connected him to the ex-boyfriend and the suspected killer of a woman in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. As part of a subsequent investigation, Waukesha county law enforcement contacted Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Michael Eckel regarding a search of Johnson's rented residence in Rosarito, Mexico. Eckel was the United States liaison between Mexican and American law enforcement authorities.

¶ 3 Eckel called his counterpart liaison in Mexico and told the Mexican liaison that United States law enforcement authorities wanted to search Johnson's residence and needed to make sure that the search was lawfully conducted so that the resulting evidence could be used in an American court. The liaison told Eckel that, according to the attorney general for Baja California, Mexico, where Johnson's residence was located, a warrantless search would be legal as long as Johnson's landlord consented.

¶ 4 Mexican and American authorities searched Johnson's residence after Johnson's landlord consented to the search. Wisconsin authorities made a list of items that they wished to take from the home, including a computer that they suspected Johnson used in carrying out the crime. The list was approved by Mexican law enforcement, and Waukesha county law enforcement thereafter received a search warrant from a Waukesha county judge to access the contents of the computer.

¶ 5 Johnson filed a motion to suppress the evidence resulting from the search of his residence, arguing that the warrantless search was illegal under Mexican law and violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The circuit court denied Johnson's motion, finding that the search of Johnson's residence was legal under Mexican law. The court also found that even if the search did not comply with Mexican law, the evidence obtained in the search was admissible as United States authorities reasonably relied on the advice of Mexican authorities as to what constitutes a legal search. Johnson was subsequently convicted following a jury trial. Johnson appeals.1

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 6 Whether a search violates the constitutional rights of a defendant and triggers the exclusionary rule, requiring the suppression of evidence obtained as a result of the unconstitutional search, is a question of constitutional fact. State v. Dearborn, 2010 WI 84, ¶¶ 13–16, 327 Wis.2d 252, 786 N.W.2d 97. Accordingly, a circuit court's findings...

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Burgess, 2021AP1067-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 21 Abril 2022
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the application......
  • State v. Davis, 2020AP731-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Agosto 2021
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the application......
  • State v. Davis, Appeal No. 2020AP731-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Agosto 2021
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson , 2013 WI App 140, ¶6, 352 Wis. 2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the applicatio......
  • State v. Ofte, 2021AP1302-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 21 Abril 2022
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. Appellate courts uphold circuit court findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous and independently review the applica......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • State v. Burgess, 2021AP1067-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 21 Abril 2022
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the application......
  • State v. Davis, 2020AP731-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Agosto 2021
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the application......
  • State v. Davis, Appeal No. 2020AP731-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Agosto 2021
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson , 2013 WI App 140, ¶6, 352 Wis. 2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. We uphold the circuit court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and we independently review the applicatio......
  • State v. Ofte, 2021AP1302-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 21 Abril 2022
    ...of an order granting or denying a suppression motion presents an issue of constitutional fact. State v. Johnson, 2013 WI.App. 140, ¶6, 352 Wis.2d 98, 841 N.W.2d 302. Appellate courts uphold circuit court findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous and independently review the applica......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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