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Thread: LEO Harrasment / Trespass

  1. #1
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    Guys:



    I built a very UGLY, but effective bullet catch. It’s quite large, but it is behind my garage and CANNOT be seen from the roadway.



    To make a long story short, LEO came on my property and took pictures of what was behind my garage (my bullet stop). They are trying to make me get rid of the bullet stop.



    Can LEO come on my land any time, without a warrant, and take pictures?



    I live in a fairly rural area and my local township has an “unsightly” nuisance ordinance. You know, one of those if it’s ugly, we don’t want to see it type ordinances.



    Not REALLY an open carry question, but I was hoping someone could shed some light on this.

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    I'm not sure about the LEO going on your land. Seems I read somewhere that an LEO is allowed to walk on your land around your house, but they cannot enter your main dwelling without a warrant or your permission.



    At any rate, I wouldn't be overly concerned by the fact that he walked onto your land. What I would be concerned about is the reason for them wanting you to get rid of the bullet trap. Is there a law against discharging a firearm where you live? Is the shooting range putting anyone at risk of serious injury or death? If the answer is "no" to each of these questions, tell them to mind their own business or you'll press harassment charges.

  3. #3
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    How do you know they did this? I assume they didn't ask first?

    What is the wording of the ordinance?

    Are the LEO's ugly and unsightly themselves?

    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    I know because I got a citation for violating the ordinance.

    I know, because as part of the discovery documents (I fighting the citation) they delivered pictures to me showing the "violation." Pictures that COULDN'T have been taken without being in my yard as the trap is not visible from the public roadway.

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    Support The 2nd wrote:
    I know because I got a citation for violating the ordinance.

    I know, because as part of the discovery documents (I fighting the citation) they delivered pictures to me showing the "violation." Pictures that COULDN'T have been taken without being in my yard as the trap is not visible from the public roadway.
    could well have been taken by code enforcement personnel.

    are you violating the ordinance?

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    Ohio Patriot wrote:
    Seems I read somewhere that an LEO is allowed to walk on your land around your house, but they cannot enter your main dwelling without a warrant or your permission.
    Are you serious? LEO can come on anyones property, any time, for any reason, no warrant?

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    ilbob wrote:
    Support The 2nd wrote: could well have been taken by code enforcement personnel.

    are you violating the ordinance?
    That's what we are going to figure out in court.

    If the bullet trap where visible from the roadway, YES I believe it would be a valid violation.

    If it is NOT visible from public property, the only way to have gotten the pics was to be on MY private property.

    Can they trespass without a warrant? Where's the due process here?



  8. #8
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    Support The 2nd wrote:
    Ohio Patriot wrote:
    Seems I read somewhere that an LEO is allowed to walk on your land around your house, but they cannot enter your main dwelling without a warrant or your permission.
    Are you serious? LEO can come on anyones property, any time, for any reason, no warrant?
    IANAL, so take this for what it is worth. But I have read that an LEO, or any LE agency (e.g. FBI, CIA, ATF) is allowed to set up surveillance on your property as long as they're not in the "immediate living and recreational area" of the dwelling. In other words, they cannot stand 5 feet from your living room window and take pictures, but they are allowed to stand 100 feet away in the bushes and take pictures, even if the bushes are on your property.



    I forget where I read this. I think it was in a book written by Boston T. Party.

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    Ugly? Very subjective and I would hope that you stop saying it is ugly. Can anyone in the area see it? Did someone complain about it to get LE to come out? Is it possible to build an extension onto your garage to cover it when not in use? I can see from the other posts that there are more questions to be answered.

    The location of sheds can be a problem here but it usually takes for someone to complain. The majority are not located per code so when the demand was made to move it my friend said okay. He then asked the inspector to follow him and start writing complaints, few if any had their sheds located ten feet from the property line. After pointing out several nonconformity's the guy asked, "are you really going to file complaints?" "You bet I am." His shed ended up staying where it was.

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    I think you may have an action in tresspass as a civil or criminal matter under state law - but as far as any enforceable fourth amendment violation, under the "open fields" doctrine, evidence obtained by police without entering your home or curtilage is not normally suppressed if they are prosecuting you criminally.

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    Curtilage is your 'unroofed' domicile. Wisc. Stat 943.13 seems to use the common definition of curtilage since it is not apparently elsewhere defined. LEO is not in the exceptions of Ch. 30.

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    Unless they went over a fence or past a proper "no trespassing" sign to get where they took the pictures,I don't see how it is trepassing.

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    943.13 Trespass to land. (1e) In this section:
    (a) “Dwelling unit” means a structure or that part of a structure
    which is used or intended to be used as a home, residence or sleeping
    place by one person or by 2 or more persons maintaining a
    common household, to the exclusion of all others.
    (az) “Implied consent” means conduct or words or both that
    imply that an owner or occupant of land has given consent to
    another person to enter the land.
    (b) “Inholding” means a parcel of land that is private property
    and that is surrounded completely by land owned by the United
    States, by this state or by a local governmental unit or any combination
    of the United States, this state and a local governmental
    unit.
    (c) “Local governmental unit” means a political subdivision of
    this state, a special purpose district in this state, an instrumentality
    or corporation of the political subdivision or special purpose district
    or a combination or subunit of any of the foregoing.
    (d) “Place of employment” has the meaning given in s. 101.01
    (11).
    (e) “Private property” means real property that is not owned
    by the United States, this state or a local governmental unit.
    (f) “Open land” means land that meets all of the following criteria:
    1. The land is not occupied by a structure or improvement
    being used or occupied as a dwelling unit.
    2. The land is not part of the curtilage, or is not lying in the
    immediate vicinity, of a structure or improvement being used or
    occupied as a dwelling unit.
    3. The land is not occupied by a public building.
    4. The land is not occupied by a place of employment.
    (1m) Whoever does any of the following is subject to a Class
    B forfeiture:
    (a) Enters any enclosed, cultivated or undeveloped land of
    another, other than open land specified in par. (e) or (f), without
    the express or implied consent of the owner or occupant.
    (am) Enters any land of another that is occupied by a structure
    used for agricultural purposes without the express or implied consent
    of the owner or occupant.
    (b) Enters or remains on any land of another after having been
    notified by the owner or occupant not to enter or remain on the
    premises.
    (e) Enters or remains on open land that is an inholding of
    another after having been notified by the owner or occupant not
    to enter or remain on the land.
    (f) Enters undeveloped private land from an abutting parcel of
    land that is owned by the United States, this state or a local governmental
    unit, or remains on such land, after having been notified by
    the owner or occupant not to enter or remain on the land.
    (1s) In determining whether a person has implied consent to
    enter the land of another a trier of fact shall consider all of the circumstances
    existing at the time the person entered the land,
    including all of the following:
    (a) Whether the owner or occupant acquiesced to previous
    entries by the person or by other persons under similar circumstances.
    (b) The customary use, if any, of the land by other persons.
    (c) Whether the owner or occupant represented to the public
    that the land may be entered for particular purposes.
    (d) The general arrangement or design of any improvements
    or structures on the land.
    (2) A person has received notice from the owner or occupant
    within the meaning of sub. (1m) (b), (e) or (f) if he or she has been
    notified personally, either orally or in writing, or if the land is
    posted. Land is considered to be posted under this subsection
    under either of the following procedures:
    (a) If a sign at least 11 inches square is placed in at least 2 conspicuous
    places for every 40 acres to be protected. The sign must
    carry an appropriate notice and the name of the person giving the
    notice followed by the word “owner” if the person giving the
    notice is the holder of legal title to the land and by the word “occupant”
    if the person giving the notice is not the holder of legal title
    but is a lawful occupant of the land. Proof that appropriate signs
    as provided in this paragraph were erected or in existence upon the
    premises to be protected prior to the event complained of shall be
    prima facie proof that the premises to be protected were posted as
    provided in this paragraph.
    (b) If markings at least one foot long, including in a contrasting
    color the phrase “private land” and the name of the owner, are
    made in at least 2 conspicuous places for every 40 acres to be protected.
    (3) Whoever erects on the land of another signs which are the
    same as or similar to those described in sub. (2) without obtaining
    the express consent of the lawful occupant of or holder of legal
    title to such land is subject to a Class C forfeiture.
    (3m) An owner or occupant may give express consent to enter
    or remain on the land for a specified purpose or subject to specified
    conditions and it is a violation of sub. (1m) (a) or (am) for a
    person who received that consent to enter or remain on the land
    for another purpose or contrary to the specified conditions.
    (4) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a representative of a
    labor union from conferring with any employee provided such
    conference is conducted in the living quarters of the employee and
    with the consent of the employee occupants.
    (4m) This section does not apply to any of the following:
    (a) A person entering the land, other than the residence or other
    buildings or the curtilage of the residence or other buildings, of
    another for the purpose of removing a wild animal as authorized
    under s. 29.885 (2), (3) or (4).
    (b) A hunter entering land that is required to be open for hunting
    under s. 29.885 (4m) or 29.889 (7m).
    (c) A person entering or remaining on any exposed shore area
    of a stream as authorized under s. 30.134.
    (5) Any authorized occupant of employer−provided housing
    shall have the right to decide who may enter, confer and visit with
    the occupant in the housing area the occupant occupies.
    History: 1971 c. 317; 1977 c. 173, 295; 1979 c. 32; 1983 a. 418; 1987 a. 27; 1989
    a. 31; 1993 a. 342, 486; 1995 a. 45, 451; 1997 a. 248; 1999 a. 9; 2003 a. 33.
    The arrest of abortion protesters trespassing at a clinic did not violate their free
    speech rights. State v. Horn, 139 Wis. 2d 473, 407 N.W.2d 854 (1987).
    Administrative code provisions requiring hunters to make reasonable efforts to
    retrieve game birds killed or injured do not exempt a person from criminal prosecution
    under sub. (1) (b) [now sub. (1m) (b)] for trespassing upon posted lands to
    retrieve birds shot from outside the posted area. 64 Atty. Gen. 204.

  15. #15
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    IIRC,generally curtilage implies an enclosed area (like a fenced in area), or one that is signed. Regardless of what the statute says, very few (maybe none) states support a charge of trespassing w/o either a fence or a sign, or some direct statement to an individual stating they are not permitted to be on the land.


    In any case, its not relevant to whether his bullet trapcomplies withlocalcodes.

  16. #16
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    WOW, I learn something new here every day.

    AHUNTER can be convicted of trespass in Wisconsin even if the property isn't posted.

    From the posts I've seen here thus far, and from what I've been able to find, it looks like in Wisconsin, LEO can walk up you driveway and look around in your yard to his/her hearts content andwe have NO recourse.

    Amazing.

  17. #17
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    Yes on the hunter but where do you find the exception for LEO?

    We Islanders are annually amazed by how many hunters think that there is public land to speak of on the Island. Yes there is some but with the deer AND the hunters then the public land will be crowded, shoulder to shoulder.

    And they walk four abreast up my road to the five-ish acres of lawn at the park trying to convince me that they wouldn't - no siree! - chase a wounded deer on to private property. We neighbors hunt each others land but that's all.

  18. #18
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    66.0119(2)
    (2) A peace officer may apply for, obtain and execute a special inspection warrant issued under this section. Except in cases of emergency where no special inspection warrant is required, special inspection warrants shall be issued for inspection of personal or real properties which are not public buildings or for inspection of portions of public buildings which are not open to the public only upon showing that consent to entry for inspection purposes has been refused.

    In other words refusal to allow entry onto your property for inspection of zoning ordinance compliance is in itself probable cause and justifies the warrant. The trespass statute apparently doesn't apply.

    As I said before statutes exist only for the purpose of restricting personal freedoms and rights and for augmenting the existance of a police state. The Wisconsin State Supreme Court said in p39 of Hamdan "In this state, constitutiopnal rights do not expand the police power; they restrict the police power." Those words sure fell on deaf ears in the law enforcement community.

  19. #19
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    Thank you for the citation and that it included some context. I found .0119(1)a interesting because it provided a definition for a phrase not subsequently used - "Inspection purposes"
    includes such purposes as building, housing, electrical, plumbing, heating, gas, fire, health, safety, environmental pollution, water quality, waterways, use of water, food, zoning, property assessment, meter and obtaining data required to be submitted in an initial site report or feasibility report under subch. III of ch. 289 or s. 291.23, 291.25, 291.29 or 291.31 or an environmental impact statement related to one of those reports. “Inspection purposes” also includes purposes for obtaining information specified in s. 196.02 (5m) by or on behalf of the public service commission.
    that does not mention 'nuisance'. (No, I did not follow all of the references.)

    And while .0119 does seem to provide for some LEO trespass, there is no exception for LEO in 943.13 Trespass to land, making it a separate issue.

  20. #20
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    Has the OP dismissed the possibility that someone else took the pctures? Like a neighbor who can see the blight from his yard?

  21. #21
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    According to the DISCOVERY documents that they provided to my attorney, the pics were taken by a police officer.

    It is also important to note, the discovery documents do NOT state a complaint was made, rather the officer took the pictures on instructions from the chief. So no complaint, no warrant, and ABSOLUTELY no way to see the trap from the road.

    The trap is behind the garage, and the garage is over 100ft from the road. The trap doesn't stick out on any side at all, and did I mention this all is on a 80 acre plot. So I own property 100 feet from the trap going South to the road. I own almost 400yards going in the North, West, and East directions. No possible way to take those pictures without being in my back yard.

    I wanted to get a feel from you guys as to thoughts about trespass BEFORE I asked the attorney and looked like an idiot. Based on the information you guys were able to find (thanks by the way) it looks like it could go either way, so I will ask the attorney "Will it hurt our case IF I try to press trespass charges against the officer, as there is NO WARRANT in the discovery documents."

    The local ordinance states it MUST be noticeable from the road.

    If I sound PO, I am, just not at you guys.


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    i don;t know the law on tresspass by a LEO but I doubt that you are going to get too far with that. A lawyer can give you an informed opinion. This unsightly stucture deals usually make me laugh but sometimes the people complaining about them really piss me off. There is a lady near me that lives in what most people would call a shack, raises chickens and rabits, drives a pink jaguar and had a pink caddilac parked under he shed right beside the road that has been the since 1957.

    People are always complaining about her and wanting the city to make her clean up her property. Did I mention that she is inside the city and on one of the busiest corners in town? She is also probably one of the two richest people in the county and has more dirt on every politician around than Hillary has on Bill. I laugh at the yankees that move down here and immediately write letters to the paper complaining about her wanting to make her clean up her corner.

    Tell the city to go chase thyself, it hidden from the road and not bothering anyone. if there are no restrictive covenants then the heck with them.

  23. #23
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    "The local ordinance states it MUST be noticeable from the road."

    IANAL but I would walk up and down the road with binoculars/camcorder checking to make sure no part of it can be seen from the road. It may be enough if the ***** can even see a corner of it from the road. Assuming no part of it can be seen from any road around you, I would consider a counter-suit against the local municipality that employs the officer. It has been my experience that a judge will side with the police and I would rather trust a jury, if you can have a jury for a case like this.

    What a way to use your tax dollar.....you're safer than a criminal to deal with.

  24. #24
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    Support the 2nd:

    Are you sure the issue of your bullet trap is it's structure and appearance? Or is it the fact that it is a bullet trap? The premption statue 66.0409 prevents any political subdivison in the state from adopting firearm ordinances that are not equal or are more strict than State statutes, with one exception. It does allow political subdivisions to enact ordinances prohibiting the discharge of weapons. Do you know if the area you live ln has such an ordinance? Could be just the gathering of evidence in case of "shots fired" calls. I may realy be reaching here, but you have to be sure all the rocks are turned over.

  25. #25
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    An example here is that there is an ordinance restricting the firing of anything that shoots a single projectile. No BB guns, rifles, pellet guns, arrows, etc. There is still land to hunt on using a shotgun and it is legal.

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