Myers
v.
State

Supreme Court of WisconsinJun 29, 1973
60 Wis. 2d 248 (Wis. 1973)
60 Wis. 2d 248208 N.W.2d 311

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No. State 155.

Argued June 6, 1973. —

Decided June 29, 1973.

ERRORS to review a judgment and an order of the circuit court for Dodge county: JAMES W. RICE, County Judge of Monroe County, Presiding. Reversed and remanded with directions.

For the plaintiff in error there was a brief and oral argument by Howard B. Eisenberg, state public defender.

For the defendant in error the cause was argued by Steven B. Wickland, assistant attorney general, with whom on the brief was Robert W. Warren, attorney general.



In early December, 1971, a secret John Doe hearing was conducted in Dodge county to investigate burglaries in the area. As a result of the hearing, two criminal complaints and warrants containing four burglary charges were issued against John W. Myers, plaintiff in error (hereinafter defendant). Count I alleged burglary of the Winneconne Corporation building in the village of Reeseville, count II a burglary of the Eagles Club building in Beaver Dam, count III a burglary of the Beaver Sport Shop in Beaver Dam, and count IV a burglary of Fischer Enco station in Watertown. All of these charges are in violation of sec. 943.10(1) (a), Stats.

At the initial appearance defendant was found to be indigent and the court appointed Attorney Robert E. Storck to represent him. On December 15, 1971, a preliminary examination was held. The court found that probable cause existed to believe the alleged crimes were committed by defendant. Defendant was bound over for trial. On December 20, 1971, an information was filed charging the defendant with these four crimes.

On January 25, 1972, the defendant served and filed a "notice of alibi" with the district attorney and the court. The alibi stated that defendant was at the residence of one Miss Rosemary Callies when the alleged crimes for counts I, II and IV were committed.

On February 1, 1972, the defendant filed a motion to suppress an envelope and its contents seized and opened during a search of the apartment of a Miss Callies as being in violation of his fourth amendment right under the United States Constitution. The envelope seized contained checks drawn on the Winneconne Corporation made payable to the order of one Richard D. Huebner. The affidavit accompanying the motion states that Sheriff Edwin E. Nehls opened this letter without a search warrant and that the sheriff did not have any consent or permission to open the letter.

The defendant had been living at Miss Callies' apartment for a few weeks at the time of the burglaries. On December 1, 1971, after defendant's arrest, Sheriff Nehls went to Miss Callies' apartment. The sheriff told her that defendant had been arrested on burglary charges and was in custody. He then asked her if she had any items in her apartment which belonged to the defendant that she wanted him [the sheriff] to remove. She then gave him several items which included a swingline stapler and a pair of brown leather gloves. She signed a written statement giving the sheriff permission to take these items. She also gave the sheriff written consent to search her apartment. The sheriff, with her assistance, started the search. While searching the apartment the sheriff saw an envelope 10 inches in length and three-quarters opened on top of the kitchen refrigerator addressed to the defendant. The sheriff picked up the envelope and held it up to the light. He knew that checks from the Winneconne Corporation were missing. As he was looking at the envelope he saw the words "Winneconne Corporation" written on something inside. He opened the envelope and it revealed checks drawn by Winneconne and payable to one Huebner.

On February 3, 1971, the court denied the motion to suppress this evidence. The court found the evidence admissible on the grounds of a "valid consent to search" and the "plain view doctrine."

The defendant also contests the search of his automobile. This search was conducted pursuant to a valid search warrant. The warrant was issued to search the defendant's car which was located in the police garage at Watertown. The warrant allowed the search of defendant's 1960 Pontiac, including the trunk, the interior and the glove compartment. The warrant described the following particular items sought to be seized, to wit: A screwdriver six to eight inches in length, a chisel approximately one foot in length, and several pairs of plastic gloves. All of these items were stated in the warrant to be involved in a burglary.

There were two separate search warrants issued to search defendant's car. Only the warrant issued on December 1st is in question.

During the search of the trunk the sheriff found a cardboard box containing a pair of black rubber gloves with red interior. He then saw a Craftman tool box in the trunk. He opened it up and saw a brown paper bag. In the bag he found a Green Bay Packer face mask. He then saw another paper bag which contained the second pair of black rubber gloves with a golden interior. He seized all of these items.

The defendant maintained that the seizure of the face mask was beyond the scope of the warrant and therefore in violation of the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. The court found that the seizure of the face mask was within the scope of the warrant and admissible in evidence.

At trial, the most incriminating evidence against the defendant was the testimony of Robert Marquardt, his brother Gerald, and Gerald's wife Patricia. Both Robert and Patricia Marquardt had been granted complete immunity from prosecution by the judge who presided at the secret John Doe hearing in which they testified. The Marquardts all testified that defendant was involved in the crimes charged. As for count I, Robert Marquardt testified that he and the defendant burglarized the Winneconne office building. In addition, some evidence taken from Miss Callies' apartment, including the envelope and the checks, was introduced into evidence.

As for count III, the sport shop charge, and count IV, the Enco service station charge, Patricia Marquardt testified that defendant burglarized these places. The face mask was introduced into evidence for the sport shop burglary.

As for count II, Gerald Marquardt testified that defendant told him he burglarized the Eagles Club.

The defendant's testimony at trial was that he was "framed" by the Marquardts and that the evidence found in the apartment and car was "planted" by the Marquardts. Defendant maintained that he was with Miss Callies on the night of the burglaries.

After the state presented its case the district attorney moved to dismiss count IV (the service station charge) because of numerous inconsistencies in Patricia Marquardt's testimony. The court granted the motion.

On direct examination of Robert and Patricia Marquardt the district attorney asked both witnesses if they testified at a secret John Doe hearing and if they were granted immunity. They both answered in the affirmative. On cross-examination of Robert Marquardt as to the Winneconne burglary, the defense attorney sought to impeach his testimony based upon inconsistent statements he made at the John Doe proceedings. His testimony included a statement that he had seen the defendant take some Winneconne checks, put them in a typewriter, make them out to Richard Huebner, and then put them in an envelope. The state objected to the use of the statements. The court sustained the objection on the grounds that the hearing was secret, and that because the state did not use the John Doe testimony at trial the defense could not use it either under sec. 968.26, Stats. The defense made an offer of proof that at the John Doe hearing Robert Marquardt testified that he never obtained any split of any money from the defendant when they burglarized the Winneconne building, while at trial he testified that a split was made.

The district attorney for Dodge county had allowed the defense attorney to read the transcript of the John Doe proceeding in the district attorney's office.

On cross-examination of Patricia Marquardt as to the sport shop burglary, the defense attorney also sought to impeach her testimony given on direct examination based on her prior inconsistent statements made at the John Doe hearing. On direct examination she testified that she went with the defendant to the sport shop at the time he burglarized it and when he came out he was carrying guns which he threw into the trunk of the car they were using. The court denied the defense attorney the use of the prior John Doe testimony on the same basis it did before. Defendant's attorney then made the following offer of proof, to wit:

" Mr. Storck: I'd like to offer to prove that this witness, Patricia Marquardt, made inconsistent statements in the John Doe proceeding indicating that she was home alone with the kids when John asked her to go along to Beaver Dam Sportsman Club, that she refused, indicated she couldn't go along and John became angry at her and threatened her and even so she wouldn't go along. She also testified that she never saw any of the guns in the John Doe which is directly opposite her present testimony. She testified in the John Doe that she didn't know who the guns were delivered to and I feel under the circumstances I should be able to put this in evidence because of the direct conflict of this particular witness's statements ."

After the state and defense presented their case the matter was submitted to the jury. The jury found defendant guilty on count I, the Winneconne burglary, and count III, the sport shop burglary. The jury found defendant not guilty of the Eagles Club burglary (count II). The court accepted the jury's verdict. The court then sentenced defendant to two years on count I and two years on count III to run consecutively to count I.

The defendant made a motion after verdict to have counts I and III dismissed. The court denied the motion. The defendant seeks review from two writs of error, one issued for the February 4, 1972, judgment, and the other for the May 8, 1972, order.

The constitutional provision applicable is the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Applicable statutes are:

" 968.26 John Doe proceeding. If a person complains to a judge that he has reason to believe that a crime has been committed within his jurisdiction, the judge shall examine the complainant under oath and any witnesses produced by him and may, and at the request of the district attorney shall, subpoena and examine other witnesses to ascertain whether a crime has been committed and by whom committed. The extent to which the judge may proceed in such examination is within his discretion. The examination may be adjourned and may be secret. Any witness examined under this section may have counsel present at the examination but such counsel shall not be allowed to examine his client, cross-examine other witnesses or argue before the judge. If it appears probable from the testimony given that a crime has been committed and who committed it, the complaint shall be reduced to writing and signed and verified; and thereupon a warrant shall issue for the arrest of the accused. Subject to s. 971.23, the record of such proceeding and the testimony taken shall not be open to inspection by anyone except the district attorney unless it is used by the prosecution at the preliminary hearing or the trial of the accused and then only to the extent that it is so used."

"971.24 Statement of witnesses. (1) At the trial before a witness other than the defendant testifies, written or phonographically recorded statements of the witness, if any, shall be given to the other party in the absence of the jury. For cause, the court may order the production of such statements prior to trial.

"(2) Either party may move for an in camera inspection by the court of the documents referred to in sub. (1) for the purpose of masking or deleting any material which is not relevant to the case being tried. The court shall mask or delete any irrelevant material."


BEILFUSS, J.

The defendant contends (1) that the search of the envelope was constitutionally impermissible; (2) that seizure of the face mask was constitutionally impermissible; and (3) that refusal of the court to allow the defendant the right to use the prior testimony of state's witnesses given at a John Doe hearing for impeachment purposes was error.

We are of the opinion that neither the search of the envelope nor the seizure of the face mask violated any constitutionally protected right of the defendant. We are of the further opinion that it was prejudicial error not to allow the defendant to use prior inconsistent testimonial statements of state's witnesses given at a secret John Doe hearing for impeachment purposes.

Defendant argues that Miss Callies' "consent" was limited in that it could not extend to a "search of the envelope." Further, that since the envelope was sealed the checks therein were not in plain view — that is, the plain view doctrine does not apply when the sheriff had to pick up the envelope and examine it under the lights in order to ascertain its contents.

However, the defendant's counsel concedes that Miss Callies did have authority to consent to the apartment search, and the sheriff was authorized to "seize" the envelope. The defendant only complains that the sheriff could not legally open the envelope to search it. It is defendant's position that the sheriff needed a search warrant before the envelope could be opened and searched.

The basis of defendant's contention on a "lack of consent" to allow the envelope's search is premised on Frazier v. Cupp (1969), 394 U.S. 731, 740, 89 Sup.Ct. 1420, 22 L.Ed.2d 684. This argument is not persuasive. It is unreasonable to conclude that the sheriff could not lawfully search the envelope which he lawfully seized pursuant to Miss Callies' consent to search the apartment. The defendant is attempting to make a distinction without a rational difference under the facts of this case. In Frazier, the United States Supreme Court dealt with the search of a duffel bag which the petitioner and one Rawls jointly used. The police came to Rawls' home and he consented to a search of the home which included the bag. While searching the bag the police came across evidence incriminating petitioner. The court held that since Rawls had consented to the search and was a joint user of the duffel bag the search was permissible and legal. It was not an "unreasonable search" under the fourth amendment. Notwithstanding, the petitioner argued that since Rawls only had permission to use "one compartment of the bag, " he had no authority to allow the police to search the "other compartments." The court dismissed the contention by saying at page 740:

". . . We will not, however, engage in such metaphysical subtleties in judging the efficacy of Rawls' consent. Petitioner, in allowing Rawls to use the bag and in leaving it in his house, must be taken to have assumed the risk that Rawls would allow someone else to look inside. We find no valid search and seizure claim in this case."

The same argument is made here. Defendant wants this court to judge the efficacy of Miss Callies' "consent" to allow the search. of the envelope that is admittedly lawfully seized. We also decline to engage in such "metaphysical subtleties." The envelope was left in Miss Callies' apartment in plain view on top of the refrigerator, partially opened with defendant's name on it; and the sheriff knew Winneconne checks were taken in the burglary for which defendant was arrested. The defendant assumed the risk that someone would look inside the envelope. It cannot be said that there was a reasonable expectation of privacy as to the contents of the envelope when it is in plain view on top of the refrigerator, with defendant's name on it.

In Mears v. State (1971), 52 Wis.2d 435, 439, 190 N.W.2d 184, we stated it is:

". . . `. . . well established that where two persons have equal rights to the use or occupancy of premises either may give consent to a search and the evidence thus disclosed can be used against either of them.'

". . .

". . . where a young woman, not his wife, with whom the defendant, a married man, was living voluntarily consented to a police search of the premises without a warrant, the Seventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals held the search to be constitutionally proper, stating:

"`The defendant's argument that Miss Hilan's consent could not affect his right to be free from unreasonable searches must also be rejected. In United States v. Sferas, supra, 210 F.2d at 74, we acknowledge the rule that "where two persons have equal rights to the use or occupation of premises, either may give consent to a search, and the evidence thus disclosed can be used against either." The rule has been applied by other courts to searches following consent given by the wife of the defendant, e.g. Roberts v. United States, 332 F.2d 892 (8th Cir. 1964), cert. denied, 380 U.S. 980, 85 S.Ct. 1344, 14 L.Ed.2d 274 (1965) and by a woman standing in the position of the defendant's wife, Nelson v. People of State of California, 346 F.2d 73, 77, (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 964, 86 S.Ct. 452, 15 L.Ed.2d 367 (1965). The considerations most applicable to the third person's consent in such cases are not related to principles of agency connecting the defendant with the person acquiescing in the search, but rather concern the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of a search consented to by a person having immediate control and authority over the premises or property searched. [cite omitted] Miss Hilan lived in the apartment, and therefore had authority to consent to a search of it. . . .'" pp. 441, 442.

United States v. Airdo (7th Cir. 1967), 380 F.2d 103, 106, 107, certiorari denied (1967), 389 U.S. 913, 88 Sup.Ct. 238, 19 L Ed. 2d 260.

The defendant contends that the seizure of the face mask was beyond the scope of the warrant in violation of his fourth amendment right. It is argued that because the face mask was not described in the search warrant its seizure is unwarranted and unreasonable. It is a fundamental protection under the fourth amendment that ". . . no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Stanford v. Texas (1965), 379 U.S. 476, 481, 85 Sup.Ct. 506, 13 L.Ed.2d 431. But the fourth amendment does not prohibit the seizure of instrumentalities, fruits, contraband and "mere evidence" of a crime which is discovered in the course of a valid search, whether it be a search incident to an arrest or by a valid search warrant. Warden v. Hayden (1967), 387 U.S. 294, 300, 301, 87 Sup.Ct. 1642, 18 L.Ed.2d 782; and Morales v. State (1969), 44 Wis.2d 96, 106-108, 170 N.W.2d 684.

In United States v. McDonnell (D.C. Neb. 1970), 315 F. Supp. 152, 168, that court set forth the following standard which we adopt with respect to items of property seized but not particularly described in the warrant, to wit:

". . . An officer may seize any property which is evidence of a crime, whether or not different from the crime by which the search was prompted, if: (1) the evidence is discovered in the course of a lawful search, whether initiated by a valid search warrant, a valid arrest warrant, circumstances justifying a lawful warrantless search, or circumstances justifying a lawful warrantless arrest, (2) the evidence in itself or in itself with facts known to the officer prior to the search, but without the necessity of subsequent development of additional facts, provides a connection between the evidence and criminal activity, (3) the evidence is discovered in the physical area properly searchable within the purposes for which the search was initiated, and (4) the evidence is discovered while the officer is actually searching for objects within the purpose for which the search was initiated."

At bar, the seizure of the face mask by the sheriff meets this four-point test. As the state correctly points out in its brief:

". . . The mask was discovered as he conducted a lawful search pursuant to a warrant. The mask provided a connection with criminal activity, being an instrumentality found with other instrumentalities of the crime. An assumption that such a face mask would be used to conceal a burglar's identity is a logical one. The mask was found in the trunk in an area specified by the warrant, and the sheriff was in the process of looking for items listed in the warrant when he came upon the mask."

On this basis the scope of the search was not illegally expanded nor was the face mask improperly seized. As the court in McDonnell pointed out at page 168:

"It is sensible that, given a lawful entry, if an officer sees in plain sight evidence not described in the warrant, he should be permitted to seize it if he does not thereby expand the scope of the entry and search. To require the officer to abandon or complete the search, get another warrant on the strength of what he saw while making the search, and then return before seizing the property would be sacrificing substance for form, where instant connection between the newly seen evidence and the crime can be made."

The controlling issue in this case is whether a witness' testimony at a John Doe hearing may be used at trial by the defendant for the purpose of impeachment despite the fact that the prosecution has not made reference to any specific testimony of the witness at the John Doe hearing on direct examination.

Sec. 968.26, Stats., states that subject to sec. 971.23, the record of the John Doe proceeding and the testimony taken therein ". . . shall not be open to inspection by anyone except the district attorney unless it is used by the prosecution at the preliminary hearing or the trial of the accused and then only to the extent that it is so used." Sec. 971.23, among other things, relates only to the discovery of the defendant's own statements or admissions, and that the defendant can obtain a list of state witnesses who will testify at trial. That section does not allow the statements of witnesses to be discovered or turned over to the defendant. However, sec. 971.24 provides that statements of witnesses shall be given to the defendant at trial and the court may order the production of such statements prior to trial if "cause" is shown.

At trial, the only reference the district attorney made about these proceedings is that he asked both Robert and Patricia Marquardt if they testified at a secret John Doe hearing and if the court gave them immunity. Nothing more and nothing less was asked. The state takes the position that because the John Doe proceedings are secret and the district attorney did not use any of its testimony, the defendant cannot use such testimony in an attempt to impeach the Marquardts' testimony at trial. Defendant contends that he should be allowed to use the testimony for "impeachment purposes." He argues that sec. 968.26, stats., must be read as being subject to both secs. 971.23 and 971.24. In the alternative, defendant argues that if sec. 968.26 is not read as subject to sec. 971.24, and if the prosecutor has the right to withhold prior inconsistent statements of his witnesses, or has the power to keep such statements from the jury, then defendant's constitutional right to due process of law is being violated.

Sec. 968.26, Stats., is explicit on its face. It expressly states that John Doe proceedings are only subject to sec. 971.23. The language is clear and unambiguous. This being the case, no judicial rule of statutory construction can include sec. 971.24. National Amusement Co. v. Department of Revenue (1969), 41 Wis.2d 261, 266, 163 N.W.2d 625.

On the other hand, not to allow the defendant at trial "access to" and the "right to use" prior inconsistent statements for "impeachment purposes" is a violation of his constitutional right to due process of law. In State Richards (1963), 21 Wis.2d 622, 633, 634, 124 N.W.2d 684, this court stated:

". . . a defendant in a criminal case is entitled to inspect statements previously made to the authorities by witnesses called to testify on behalf of the state. This right goes only to statements or portions thereof concerning the subject matter of the witness' testimony and written or signed by the witness or given orally and stenographically or mechanically transcribed. As indicated in State ex rel. Byrne v. Circuit Court, supra, we see no policy reason to require that inspection be afforded to the defendant before the witness testifies. But after direct examination of the witness, upon request of the defendant out of the presence of the jury, the court should order the state to produce for inspection all such statements of the witness in any of the forms referred to.

". . .

"Counsel for the defense may point out to the court, out of the presence of the jury, what parts of the statements they desire to use. Use upon the trial may be permitted by the court if it determines that there are such inconsistencies between the testimony and the statements, or such variance between them (including omissions) as would tend to substantially impeach the witness' testimony. A stenographic record shall be made of these proceedings."

In Napue v. Illinois (1959), 360 U.S. 264, 269, 270, 79 Sup.Ct. 1173, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217, the United States Supreme Court stated:

The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed Napue in Giles Maryland (1967), 386 U.S. 66, 87 Sup.Ct. 793, 17 L.Ed.2d 737.

" First, it is established that a conviction obtained through use of false evidence, known to be such by representatives of the State, must fall under the Fourteenth Amendment. [Cases cited.] The same result obtains when the State, although not soliciting false evidence, allows it to go uncorrected when it appears. [Cases cited.]

"The principal that a State may not knowingly use false evidence, including false testimony, to obtain a tainted conviction, implicit in any concept of ordered liberty, does not cease to apply merely because the false testimony goes only to the credibility of the witness. The jury's estimate of the truthfulness and reliability of a given witness may well be determinative of guilt or innocence, and it is upon such subtle factors as the possible interest of the witness in testifying falsely that a defendant's life or liberty may depend. As stated by the New York Court of Appeals in a case very similar to this one, People v. Savvides, 1 N.Y.2d 554, 557; 136 N.E.2d 853, 854-855; 154 N.Y.S.2d 885, 887:

"`It is of no consequence that the falsehood bore upon the witness' credibility rather than directly upon defendant's guilt. A lie is a lie, no matter what its subject, and, if it is in any way relevant to the case, the district attorney has the responsibility and duty to correct what he knows to be false and elicit the truth. That the district attorney's silence was not the result of guile or a desire to prejudice matters little, for its impact was the same, preventing, as it did, a trial that could in any real sense be termed fair.'"

At trial, Patricia Marquardt testified that she was with defendant when he committed the sport shop burglary and she saw defendant put some guns into the trunk of the car in which she was sitting. At the John Doe hearing she said that she did not go to the sport shop with the defendant when he burglarized that building, and did not see any of the guns stolen from that place. The court denied the defendant the right to use this testimony for "impeachment purposes." This was reversible error. Her testimony was the only "direct evidence" going to the sport shop burglary, and almost all of the circumstantial evidence offered rested on that testimony. The same is true with respect to the attempted impeachment of Robert Marquardt's testimony. The guilt or innocence of the defendant actually turned upon the credibility of the witnesses. Both Marquardts were involved in the crimes for which the defendant was convicted. To deny the defendant the right of access and use of the John Doe testimony for impeachment purposes is a denial of due process of law and in this case prejudicial to the rights of the defendant.

Notwithstanding, the state argues that such testimony must be kept secret for the protection of the witnesses who testify at such hearings, and to render the witnesses more free in their disclosure. The state relies on State ex rel. Jackson v. Coffey (1963), 18 Wis.2d 529, 546, 118 N.W.2d 939, where this court stated that "secrecy" is a privilege of the witness and the state has a legitimate interest in maintenance of secrecy for a reasonable period of time. This is true, but as defendant correctly points out, the policy of secrecy is not at issue. Here the district attorney used the secret John Doe testimony of Robert and Patricia Marquardt as the basis for the criminal complaints. The "secrecy policy" is designed to preclude a defendant from opening up the entire John Doe once the prosecutor uses it as to one witness or one offense. The defendant in this instance only wanted to use part of the relevant testimony for "impeachment purposes." He has that right under due process of law. The "secrecy of the witness" is not infringed upon because Patricia and Robert Marquardt testified at trial and stated that they testified at the John Doe proceedings. The state no longer had a legitimate interest of secrecy in their testimony to be used for impeachment purposes. We hold the defendant has the right to access and use of such testimony for the limited purpose of impeachment under the guidelines set forth in Richards, supra. To interpret sec. 968.26, Stats., otherwise would render it unconstitutional. By the Court. — Judgment and order reversed and a new trial ordered as to counts I and III of the information.