State v. Yeoman, No. 2011AP1019–CR.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation827 N.W.2d 928,2013 WI App 30,346 Wis.2d 278
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff–Respondent, v. Adam W. YEOMAN, Defendant–Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 2011AP1019–CR.
Decision Date10 January 2013

346 Wis.2d 278
827 N.W.2d 928
2013 WI App 30

STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff–Respondent,
Adam W. YEOMAN, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 2011AP1019–CR.

Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.

Jan. 10, 2013.

Appeal from a judgment of the circuit court for La Crosse County: Todd W. Bjerke, Judge. Affirmed.

Adam Yeoman appeals a judgment convicting him of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Yeoman contends that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion in refusing to suppress three items of evidence before Yeoman entered a no contest plea. SeeWis. Stat. § 971.31(10) (2009–10). 1 We conclude that the circuit court properly decided each of the issues in Yeoman's suppression motion against him, and therefore affirm the judgment of conviction.


¶ 2 A pair of Wisconsin State Patrol officers responded to a dispatch call at 2:00 a.m. about a tavern robbery committed at gunpoint. The dispatch included a description of the suspect as a younger white male with no facial hair, approximately 5'6? or 5'7,? wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, and possibly driving a gray Jeep or Blazer headed toward I–90. As the officers were driving on I–90, they observed a two-tone blue and gray Jeep Cherokee covered in salt traveling in the opposite direction along a straight stretch of highway. The only other vehicle the officers observed on the highway was a four-door sedan.

¶ 3 Despite quickly making a U-turn, the officers had lost sight of the Jeep by the time they reversed direction, from which the officers surmised that the Jeep had accelerated at a high rate of speed. The officers traveled at a rate in excess of 120 miles per hour and caught up to the Jeep about four-and-a-half miles later, from which they calculated that the Jeep must have been going in excess of 90 miles per hour. The Jeep exited the highway as the squad car approached it, and the officers immediately pulled the Jeep over at a stoplight at the end of the exit.

¶ 4 As Yeoman emerged from the passenger side of the Jeep, the officers could see that he matched the description of the suspect in terms of general build and clothing. Once Yeoman was handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car, a deputy from the La Crosse County Sheriff's office asked him some general questions about where he was coming from and directed another officer to look at the bottom of Yeoman's boots. After noting that Yeoman's story about where he had been did not match that of his sister, who had been driving, the deputy Mirandized Yeoman, and began asking more pointed questions about the robbery. At one point, Yeoman stated:

I'm done talking [if] you guys think that I'm involved in this, that's insane. I know you don't think my sister was involved in it, so if you've got a videotape, then we can be out of here soon.

After a few additional questions, there was a pause in the interrogation while officers discussed a comparison between the description of a boot print at the tavern and Yeoman's boots, as well as the discovery of a gun in plain view inside of the Jeep. The deputy then resumed the questioning, confronting Yeoman with the shoe print and gun evidence, in response to which Yeoman stated:

You've got a gun. Then you guys've got the guy.

When the deputy attempted to clarify that statement by asking, “That's you, right?” Yeoman stated:

I didn't do it. I didn't do nothing man. I'm done. If you guys are pinning this on me, I'm done talking about it.

The deputy then informed Yeoman that he was under arrest.


¶ 5 When we review a suppression motion, we will defer to the circuit court's credibility determinations and will uphold its findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous. Wis. Stat. § 805.17(2); State v. Eckert, 203 Wis.2d 497, 518, 553 N.W.2d 539 (Ct.App.1996); State v. Marty, 137 Wis.2d 352, 359, 404 N.W.2d 120 (Ct.App.1987), overruled on other grounds by State v. Sanchez, 201 Wis.2d 219, 232, 548 N.W.2d 69 (1996). We will independently determine, however, whether the facts establish that a particular search or seizure violated constitutional standards. See State v. Richardson, 156 Wis.2d 128, 137–38, 456 N.W.2d 830 (1990).


¶ 6 Under the “poisonous fruit” exclusionary rule, evidence that has been discovered as the result of illegal police conduct is subject to suppression. Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 488, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963). This rule applies to verbal evidence and observations made by police as well as to tangible physical evidence. Id. at 485.

¶ 7 Yeoman claims that law enforcement officers acted improperly when they first pulled him over; when they continued to question him after he had invoked his right to silence; when they looked at the bottom of his boots during the initial questioning; and when they searched his car during the stop. As a result, he argues that the circuit court should have suppressed as evidence the gun recovered from his car, the boot print evidence, and his statement.

Initial Stop

¶ 8 The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures.2See State v. Drogsvold, 104 Wis.2d 247, 264, 311 N.W.2d 243 (Ct.App.1981). The detention of a motorist by a law enforcement officer constitutes a “seizure” of the person within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. See Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 436–37, 104 S.Ct. 3138, 82 L.Ed.2d 317 (1984). However, such detention is not “unreasonable” if the stop is brief in nature, and justified by a reasonable suspicion that the motorist has committed, or is about to commit, a crime. SeeU.S. Const., amend. IV; Berkemer, 468 U.S. at 439;see alsoWis. Const., art. I, § 11; Wis. Stat. § 968.24.

¶ 9 According to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), the reasonable suspicion necessary to detain a suspect for investigative questioning must be based on specific and articulable facts, together with rational inferences drawn from those facts, sufficient to lead a reasonable law enforcement officer to believe that criminal activity may be afoot, and that investigation would be appropriate. Id. at 21–22. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has outlined six...

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