JANINE P. GESKE, J.
This case is before the court on certification by the court of appeals, pursuant to sec. (Rule) 809.61, Stats. The state appeals from a March 26, 1992, order of the circuit court for Sheboygan County, Gary Langhoff, Circuit Judge, suppressing inculpatory statements given to the police by the defendant, Marvin Thiel (Thiel), who was charged with feloniously exhibiting to a child material which is harmful to children and with feloniously attempting to exhibit harmful material to a child. Thiel cross-appeals from that part of the March 26 order which denied his motions regarding deficiencies in the preliminary hearing and in the charging decision; lack of probable cause in the affidavit supporting the request for a search warrant; overbreadth of the search warrant; and the involuntariness of his statements
The questions certified by the court of appeals are as follows:
(1) Was Thiel's inquiry of the police—"Do you think I need an attorney?"—sufficient to invoke his right to counsel?
Consistent with our holding in State v. Walkowiak, 183 Wis.2d 478, 480, 486, 515 N.W.2d 863 (1994), also mandated today, we conclude that such a statement is equivocal and, therefore, insufficient to invoke the right to counsel. Further, we hold that upon an equivocal inquiry, all interrogation must cease until the ambiguity is resolved.
(2) Is sec. 948.11, Stats., which regulates the dissemination of obscene materials "harmful to children," unconstitutional due to overbreadth?
We hold that sec. 948.11, Stats., is not unconstitutionally overbroad. Rather, the legislature has properly adapted the Miller obscenity test
Additionally, this court heard arguments on several issues not certified by the court of appeals. First, Thiel argues that the statutory exemption provided for libraries and educational institutions in sec. 948.11(4), Stats., violates his right to equal protection guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution and art. I, sec. 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution, thereby requiring strict scrutiny. We disagree and hold that sec. 948.11 is a constitutional variable obscenity statute. We conclude that the library and educational institution exception is reasonable and rationally related to the fundamental purpose of the legislation.
Second, Thiel challenges the sufficiency of the facts in the amended complaint and evidence presented at the preliminary hearing to support the charge of attempt to exhibit harmful materials to a child. We disagree and conclude that the facts in the amended complaint as well as evidence presented at the preliminary hearing established probable cause that Thiel committed the crime of attempt to exhibit harmful materials to a minor, in violation of secs. 948.11(2)(a) and 939.32(1), Stats.
Finally, Thiel argues that the search warrant was not supported by probable cause and was not reasonably specific so as to survive fourth amendment scrutiny. We disagree. The magistrate in this case properly applied the "totality of the circumstances" test enunciated in Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 230 (1983), to determine that a fair probability existed that evidence of a crime would be found at the Thiel residence and place of business. Additionally, given the nature of the activity under investigation and the age
For purposes of this appeal, we rely on the facts alleged in the complaint and testified to at the preliminary hearing and the suppression hearing. On October 15, 1991, Thiel was served with a criminal complaint alleging one count of feloniously exhibiting harmful materials to a child, in violation of sec. 948.11(2)(a), Stats.,
On August 29, 1991, J.L.L. gave Sheboygan police an account of what happened to her in Thiel's store three days earlier. J.L.L. stopped by the store with her younger sister to see what items she could afford to buy. From behind the store counter, Thiel answered
After showing her the photographs, "Marv" asked her if he should go warm up the VCR in the back room so the two of them could watch "dirty movies." The back room Thiel referred to was part of his residence, which was attached to the store. J.L.L. became worried and uncomfortable as a result of Thiel's comments, and she told him she and her sister had to leave because their mother was calling.
Further discussions about the incident occurred between J.L.L. and two Sheboygan police detectives, who were granted a search warrant for the business and residence of Marvin Thiel. In their search of the premises, the detectives seized videotapes, a VCR, a video camera, various sex toys, and one cartoon depicting Bart Simpson engaging in fellatio with a small child.
While executing the search warrant, the detectives made contact with Thiel. He was informed of the
During the subsequent interrogation, Thiel initially denied any knowledge of the incident with J.L.L. However, he later admitted showing her the "Sexual Secrets of the Zodiac" booklet only after J.L.L. started a conversation with him about sexual activity.
A criminal complaint was filed against Thiel on September 18, 1991, which charged him with exhibiting harmful materials to a minor, in violation of sec. 948.11(2)(a), Stats., and attempted child enticement, in violation of sec. 948.07(5), Stats. An amended complaint
Thiel challenged both counts of the amended complaint for the following reasons: (1) sec. 948.11, Stats., was unconstitutionally overbroad; (2) the complaint did not establish probable cause; (3) there was insufficient evidence to establish attempt; and (4) sec. 948.11(1), (2), and (4), Stats., violated his right to equal protection of the laws. At Thiel's preliminary hearing, the court denied his motion to dismiss the complaint. At the conclusion of that hearing, the court found probable cause to believe that a felony was committed by Thiel, ordering his bindover for trial. The circuit court denied Thiel's motion to stay court proceedings, which resulted in the submission of additional pretrial motions, including: (1) a challenge to the sufficiency of the affidavit in support of the search warrant; (2) a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing regarding Count 2 of the complaint; and (3) a challenge to the interrogation by the Sheboygan police, which yielded inculpatory statements violative of Miranda. Though the court denied the other pretrial motions, it did grant a motion to suppress certain inculpatory statements, from which the state now appeals.
THE REQUEST FOR COUNSEL
The state challenges the suppression by the circuit court of a series of inculpatory statements Thiel made to the Sheboygan police on September 17, 1992. In deciding whether the police violated Thiel's fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination, we conduct an independent review of this question of constitutional fact. State v. Kramar, 149 Wis.2d 767, 784, 440 N.W.2d 317 (1989) (citing State v. Turner, 136 Wis.2d 333, 344, 401 N.W.2d 827 (1987)).
During the execution of the search warrant at Thiel's home and place of business, Sheboygan police informed Thiel of his rights under Miranda, 384 U.S. 436. Indicating that he was willing to cooperate with the police, Thiel signed a form which waived his right to counsel and to be silent. At the conclusion of the search, police asked Thiel to accompany them to the police station. Once there, Thiel was again informed of his Miranda rights. Thiel then asked one of the detectives, "Do you think I need an attorney?" and the detective responded, "That's up to you." According to the detective, Thiel paused momentarily and then, for a second time, signed a waiver form. During the subsequent interrogation, Thiel made a series of statements to the police, including an admission that he showed J.L.L. "Sexual Secrets of the Zodiac" and that he had had an attraction to children for the past six years.
At a motion hearing in January, 1992, Thiel argued that the statements he made while at the police station should be suppressed. Suppression was warranted, according to Thiel, because he invoked his right
The facts of this case may be easily distinguished from the situation in State v. Lampe, 119 Wis.2d 206, 349 N.W.2d 677 (1984), in which the defendant clearly made a request for counsel prior to additional interrogation. At no time during the search of Thiel's residence or store, nor later at the Sheboygan police station, did Thiel request the assistance of counsel. At no time was Thiel coerced to sign either of the waiver forms or to make subsequent inculpatory statements to the police. Rather, he was informed on two separate occasions of his rights and unequivocally waived those rights by signing the forms. In Walkowiak, we held that when a defendant makes an equivocal inquiry regarding the presence of counsel, all interrogation must cease until the ambiguity is resolved. The police officer's response, "That's up to you," as well as Thiel's conduct in resigning the waiver form following his equivocal inquiry, "Do you think I need an attorney?" resolved any ambiguity which may have existed. We now reverse the order of the circuit court which suppressed inculpatory statements made by Thiel. We also note here that distinct from the situation in Walkowiak, the issue of whether the waiver by Thiel was voluntary, intelligent and knowing was resolved at the circuit court level. The court found beyond a reasonable
Thiel raises a facial constitutional challenge to sec. 948.11, Stats.,
The doctrine of substantial overbreadth establishes an exception to the general rule that "a person to whom a statute may be constitutionally applied cannot challenge the statute on the ground that it may be unconstitutionally applied to others." Massachusetts v. Oakes, 491 U.S. 576, 581 (1989) (citing Board of Airport Comm'rs of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U.S. 569, 574 (1987)).
Here, Thiel argues that if sec. 948.11(2), Stats., is given its normal meaning, it is so overbroad that the sanctions of the statute will apply to conduct which the state is not entitled to regulate. State v. Tronca, 84 Wis.2d 68,
A reviewing court must view the overbreadth doctrine as "`strong medicine'" which should be employed only "with hesitation, and then `only as a last resort.'" New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747, 769 (1982) (quoting Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601, 613 (1973)). Facial challenges to a statute, such as the one Thiel makes here, do not succeed when a limiting construction is available to maintain the legislation's constitutional integrity. Broadrick, 413 U.S. at 613. Additionally, since sec. 948.11 encompasses both speech and conduct, the overbreadth alleged must be both real and substantial. Id.
The rationale underlying an overbreadth challenge includes two goals: (1) to prevent a "chilling effect" on free speech and (2) to prevent selective enforcement of a statute, which would target and discriminate against certain classes of people.
A statute challenged as unconstitutionally overbroad can be "cured" by means of judicial interpretation, which provides for a narrowing and validating construction of the law. The court may also excise or sever the unconstitutional portion of the statute, leaving the rest of the legislation in force. Finally, the court may strike down the entire statute, holding it to be unconstitutional on its face. Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Making Sense of Overbreadth, 100 Yale L.J. 853, 886 (1991).
As this court noted in State v. Mitchell, 169 Wis.2d 153, 162, 485 N.W.2d 807 (1992), rev'd on other grounds 113 S.Ct. 2194 (1993), "The first step in reviewing a constitutional challenge to a statute is to determine which party bears the burden of proving its constitutionality ...." Typically, the party challenging the statute bears that burden and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the statute is unconstitutional.
(Citations omitted.) Many states have enacted laws in order to ban or restrict the flow of obscene materials to minors. A law which prohibits a person from distributing or exhibiting to children any materials deemed to be obscene to children, but not obscene to adults, is called a variable obscenity statute. Variable obscenity
The Wisconsin legislature created a variable obscenity statute in the context of ch. 948, Stats., which defines conduct constituting crimes against children. Specifically, sec. 948.11, Stats., has a twofold purpose, similar to variable obscenity statutes in other states: (1) to protect minors from material harmful to them as a class and (2) to protect the rights of parents to supervise the development of their children. See also Christopher W. Weller, See No Evil: The Divisive Issue of Minors' Access Laws, 18 Cumb. L. Rev. 141, 142 (1987) [hereinafter See No Evil] (citing Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of Appellant at 6 in Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968)).
In his attack on sec. 948.11, Stats., Thiel joins the ongoing debate which has involved other variable obscenity statutes: how to resolve the competing social values of safeguarding "`the physical and psychological well-being of a minor'"
The United States Supreme Court, in Ginsberg, 390 U.S. 629, recognized the concept of "variable
The ability to regulate a minor's exposure to materials considered to be harmful is justified by two compelling state interests. First, the state maintains the desire to safeguard the well-being of youth, an interest within the state's constitutional powers of regulation. We recognize the basic right of parents to nurture, raise and direct the development of their children. Ginsberg, 390 U.S. at 639. Therefore, the legislature can properly conclude that parents, teachers and others who have the primary responsibility for the development of children are entitled to support by means of legislation designed to aid them in fulfilling that obligation.
Second, the state has an independent interest in the well-being of its youth. Our children are the future of this country. Since parents are not always in a position to shield their children from exposure to obscene materials, the state is justified in regulating the exhibition of those types of materials to minors. Such regulation reflects the legitimate interest in protecting minors from materials deemed to be harmful to their welfare.
Therefore, "[t]o sustain state power to exclude material defined as obscenity ... requires only that we be able to say that it was not irrational for the legislature to find that exposure to material condemned by the statute is harmful to minors." Id. at 641. A state may prohibit the distribution of sexually explicit
The Ginsberg decision sparked a proliferation of variable obscenity statutes across the country. Many states later modified their laws to move beyond the ruling in Ginsberg in order to regulate the sale and display of material harmful to minors. The United States Supreme Court held that, "particularly where conduct and not merely speech is involved, ... the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep." Broadrick, 413 U.S. at 615. Therefore, a variable obscenity statute must not substantially impair the access of adults to protected materials.
These statutes must also require scienter in order to "avoid the hazard of self-censorship of constitutionally protected material and to compensate for the ambiguities inherent in the definition of obscenity." Mishkin, 383 U.S. at 511.
Recent constitutional challenges to variable obscenity statutes have focused upon the scope of the imposed prohibitions. See No Evil, 18 Cumb. L. Rev. at 149 n.58. In M. S. News Co. v. Casado, 721 F.2d 1281 (10th Cir. 1983), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the constitutionality of a Wichita, Kansas, ordinance
In 1990, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld as constitutional a Georgia statute which made it a criminal offense to display, in a place accessible to minors, any material deemed harmful to minors under the statute.
Id. at 1501.
The court concluded that the Georgia statute was "readily susceptible to a narrowing construction that [would reduce] the scope of the materials covered [and produced] only a slight burden on adults' access to protected material, and fully comport[ed] with the First Amendment." Id. at 1495 (footnote omitted).
In Casado, Webb, Upper Midwest, and Tattered Cover, the courts' focus was the impact of variable obscenity statutes upon the commercial display of materials deemed harmful to minors, but not obscene for adults. In Webb, for example, appellees argued that the Georgia statute's definition of harmful to minors was overbroad because it established a single standard for all minors, without distinction as to maturity levels. The consequence, according to appellees, was that older minors would be denied access to materials with serious literary value. Webb, 919 F.2d at 1504.
However, the Georgia statute did not deny access to "reasonable minors." See Pope v. Illinois, 481 U.S. 497 (1987).
In the case before us, Thiel argues that Wisconsin's variable obscenity statute, sec. 948.11, Stats., is facially invalid. He contends that the statute unduly burdens the first amendment right of adults to sell, view, or examine materials which have been statutorily defined as harmful to minors. The United States Supreme Court has stated:
Virginia v. American Booksellers Assn., 484 U.S. 383, 397 (1988) (citations omitted).
We agree with the Webb court's analysis of the overbreadth doctrine as well as the fact that consideration must be given to
Webb, 919 F.2d at 1500. We conclude that sec. 948.11, Stats., can be narrowly construed and is not unconstitutionally overbroad. The statute has, in fact, struck a proper balance between this state's compelling interest
The legislature has narrowly drafted sec. 948.11, Stats., so as to have only an incidental effect on the rights of adults to view materials considered not to be obscene for them. The language of the statute reflects the state's compelling interest to protect the well-being of its youth by examining the nature of the materials.
In sec. 948.11(1)(b), Stats., the legislature adapted the Miller test of obscenity to produce a definition of what may be considered harmful to children. The first two prongs of the test—appeal to prurient interest and patent offensiveness—are analyzed by applying contemporary community standards. See Smith v. United States, 431 U.S. 291 (1977). However, the third prong
The state has successfully borne the burden of proving that sec. 948.11, Stats. does not unconstitutionally encroach upon the first amendment rights of adults. See Mitchell, 169 Wis. 2d at 163. The statute has properly adapted the Miller obscenity standard to determine what materials are harmful to minors so as to allow the state to protect the well-being of youth without unduly burdening the first amendment rights of adults to view, sell, or examine materials not considered obscene or harmful for them.
Thiel argues that sec. 948.11(4), Stats., violates his right to equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution and art. I, sec. 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution because it exempts public libraries, educational institutions, and their employees and directors from prosecution under sec. 948.11. He claims that sec. 948.11(4) should, therefore, be subject to strict scrutiny because of its abridgement of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the first amendment.
We disagree. We have found sec. 948.11, Stats., to be a constitutional variable obscenity statute. A valid
Similar to the legislation at issue in Webb, sec. 948.11(4), Stats, exempts a library or educational institution from the statutory restrictions which prohibit an individual from selling, loaning, transferring, or exhibiting to minors materials defined as harmful to them. At the heart of this legislation is the understanding that libraries and educational institutions differ significantly in purpose and motivation from individual or commercial purveyors of obscene or harmful material. Section 948.11(4)(a) states in part:
Section 948.11(4)(a), Stats.
Contrary to Thiel's argument that libraries and educational institutions will be permitted to engage in activity considered to be unlawful for any other individual or commercial entity,
Webb, 919 F.2d at 1511. The purpose of sec. 948.11, Stats., is to enjoin conduct by individuals or commercial entities which is designed to appeal to the prurient interest of minors. We conclude that the exemption provided in the statute is reasonable and serves a "legitimate public purpose or set of purposes based on some conception of the general good." Laurence H. Tribe, American Constitutional Law sec. 16-2 at 1440 (2d ed. 1988). See also Joseph Tussman and Jacobus tenBroeck, The Equal Protection of the Laws, 37 Cal. L. Rev. 341 (1949).
Finally, the classification itself is not inherently suspect, i.e., it was not based upon a suspect distinction such as race. Consequently, "the Equal Protection Clause is not offended by an under-inclusive or over-inclusive restriction on one's ability to engage in conduct that is not protected by the Constitution." Webb, 919 F.2d at 1511 (citing United States v. Thornton, 901 F.2d 738 (9th Cir. 1990)).
Thiel has also challenged the sufficiency of the factual allegations underlying the charge of attempt to expose a child to harmful material, in violation of secs. 948.11(2)(a) and 939.32(1), Stats., in Count 2 of the amended complaint. This challenge extended, as well, to the preliminary hearing, wherein he claimed a lack of evidence sufficient to support a bindover for trial. A review of the bindover determination is made de novo by this court. State v. Moats, 156 Wis.2d 74, 84, 457 N.W.2d 299
Section 939.32(3), Stats., provides:
Id. at 31. Thiel argues that he had not taken sufficient steps in furtherance of the crime charged, since he had only asked J.L.L. if she wanted to watch dirty movies in the back room. However, "[i]ntent may be inferred from the defendant's conduct, including his words and gestures taken in the context of the circumstances." Id. at 35 (citing Jacobs v. State, 50 Wis.2d 361, 366, 184 N.W.2d 113 (1971), and Adams v. State, 57 Wis.2d 515, 519, 204 N.W.2d 515 (1973)). Here, Thiel's verbal invitation was subsequent to his showing J.L.L. the booklet "Sexual Secrets of the Zodiac," which contained pictures of men and women engaged in sexual intercourse. In combination with the sex toys and pornographic videos recovered during the search of the residence and store, reasonable inferences may be drawn that Thiel possessed materials deemed harmful to children and intended to exhibit them to J.L.L. Thiel's failure to actually show J.L.L. the "dirty movies" in the back room does not mean that the intent to do so was not present.
Additionally, the conduct element of attempt under sec. 939.32(3), Stats., was satisfied when J.L.L. left Thiel's store after becoming worried by his suggestions. Thiel's conduct up to that point demonstrated that only a circumstance beyond his control prevented the commission of the crime. Stewart, 143 Wis. 2d at 42.
Id. at 580-81 (citing State v. Haugen, 52 Wis.2d 791, 793, 191 N.W.2d 12 (1971). The test applied to assess the sufficiency of a complaint is that it must be minimally adequate in setting forth the essential facts which establish probable cause. Minimal adequacy is evaluated using common sense as opposed to hypertechnical means. Id. (citing State ex rel. Evanow v. Seraphim, 40 Wis.2d 223, 226, 161 N.W.2d 369 (1968), and State v. Elson, 60 Wis.2d 54, 58, 208 N.W.2d 363 (1973)).
The amended complaint clearly describes the entire incident, including a completed crime of exposing harmful materials to a child, as alleged in Count 1. The allegations in the complaint also include statements of the minor child and inculpatory statements made by Thiel.
Thiel also contends that there was insufficient evidence presented at the preliminary hearing to support an attempted violation of sec. 948.11, Stats., under the attempt statute, sec. 939.32, Stats. Again, Thiel asserts there was no evidence presented at the preliminary hearing with regard to overt acts relating to his offer to show J.L.L. "dirty movies," only an alleged offer. Furthermore, he claims that the state has failed to prove any specific representations made to J.L.L. which would be considered "harmful to children" in violation of sec. 948.11, warranting a bindover for trial. Thus, Thiel argues, Count 2 of the information should have
Finally, Thiel challenges the search warrant and supporting affidavit, claiming that the warrant was not supported by probable cause and was not reasonably specific so as to satisfy fourth amendment scrutiny.
We disagree with both challenges. First, we conclude that J.L.L.'s detailed statement to the Sheboygan police that Thiel exhibited to her "Sexual Secrets of the Zodiac," her description of the booklet's contents and of Thiel's conversation with her about watching "dirty movies" in the back room was sufficient to "`excite an honest belief in a reasonable mind that the objects sought are linked with the commission of a crime, and that the objects sought will be found in the place to be searched.'" State v. Edwards, 98 Wis.2d 367, 373, 297 N.W.2d 12 (1980) (quoting State v. Starke, 81 Wis.2d 399, 408, 260 N.W.2d 739 (1978)). The magistrate properly issued the warrant, applying the "totality of the circumstances" test enunciated in Gates, 462 U.S. at 230. The task of the magistrate in applying this test is to "make a practical, commonsense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit ... a fair probability [exists] that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place." Id. at 238.
SHIRLEY S. ABRAHAMSON, J. (dissenting in part and concurring in part).
In accordance with the views I express today in Walkowiak v. State, 183 Wis.2d 478, 491, 515 N.W.2d 847 (1994), I write separately to state that I agree with the circuit court that the defendant's statements should be suppressed. The waiver of rights signed by the defendant in this case is invalid as a matter of law.
Circuit court judge Gary Langhoff explained the circuit court's position and mine very well as follows:
Section 948.11 was enacted as 1987 Wis. Act 332, sec. 55. As part of the revision of Wisconsin's Criminal Code, sec. 948.11 replaced sec. 944.25, Stats., which was repealed by 1987 Wis. Act 332, sec. 45, effective July 1, 1989.
Ginsberg, 390 U.S. at 646.
Casado, 721 F.2d at 1296-97.
By contrast, in Tattered Cover, Inc. v. Tooley, 696 P.2d 780 (Colo. 1985), the court held that the commercial display provision of the statute was not sufficiently narrowly drawn so as to have only an incidental effect on the sale and display of adult materials. The statute was found to be facially invalid because the applicable severability statute was not capable of validating inoffensive provisions.
American Booksellers v. Webb, 919 F.2d 1493, 1513-14 (11th Cir. 1990).
Id. at 500-01 (emphasis added). Both the courts in Webb and American Booksellers Ass'n, Inc. v. Com. of Virginia, 882 F.2d 125, 127 (4th Cir. 1989), cert. denied 494 U.S. 1056 (1990), adapted the Pope "reasonable person" test to create the reasonable minor test, when assessing what is harmful to minors.
1. Did the phrase "harmful to juveniles" encompass any of the materials introduced at trial, and what general standard should be used to determine the Virginia statute's reach, in light of the differing ages and levels of maturity of the juveniles covered by the statute?
2. Does a bookseller comply with the statute when the bookseller prohibits juvenile examination of materials covered by the statute, when observed by the bookseller, but otherwise takes no action regarding the display of restricted materials? Virginia v. American Booksellers Assn, 484 U.S. at 398.
Following the Virginia Supreme Court's decision on those certified questions, the case was remanded to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which reversed its previous decision and held that the Virginia statute was not unconstitutionally vague. American Booksellers Ass'n, 882 F.2d at 126.
By 1987, sec. 948.11, Stats., was in place, adapting the Miller test to identify materials harmful to minors.