Byline: Derek Hawkins
WI Supreme Court
Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. John Patrick Wright
Case No.: 2019 WI 45
Focus: 4th Amendment Violation
This is a review of an unpublished decision of the court of appeals affirming an order of the Circuit Court for Milwaukee County, Hannah Dugan, Judge, granting John Patrick Wright's motion to suppress evidence. The appeal was decided by one judge, Joan F. Kessler, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 752.31(2)(f) (2015-16). John Patrick Wright, the defendant, was charged with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon in violation of Wis. Stat. 941.23(2). The weapon was discovered in Wright's vehicle's glove compartment during a traffic stop. Wright did not hold a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon, commonly referred to as a CCW permit.
Wright filed a motion to suppress the evidence. Wright admitted that the traffic stop was lawfully initiated because it was supported by reasonable suspicion that Wright was violating the traffic code. Wright argued, however, that the police violated the Fourth Amendment by taking three actions unsupported by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity: (1) the police asked Wright whether he had a weapon in the vehicle; (2) the police asked Wright whether he held a permit to carry a concealed weapon; and (3) the police verified whether Wright in fact had a valid CCW permit (a CCW permit check).
The case presents three Fourth Amendment issues: (1) in the absence of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, may an officer ask a lawfully stopped motorist about the presence of weapons; (2) in the absence of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, may an officer ask a lawfully stopped motorist whether the motorist holds a CCW permit; and (3) in the...