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Man complains he gave information on meth labs, went to jail anyway

A man who claimed New Richmond police promised he'd serve no jail time if he gave them information about meth labs operating in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin lost his appeal last week.

The District III Court of Appeals upheld St. Croix County Judge Eric Lundell's decision that there had been no such deal between police and Joseph Scott Greene, 26. He subsequently spent a year in jail.

Greene also asked the appeals court to adopt a rule requiring police to tape all interrogations of suspects in their custody. But the court said it doesn't have the authority to create that rule.

Greene, whose address is listed in court records as both Newport, Minn., and Somerset, was arrested in his car for shoplifting two compact discs from a New Richmond store, according to background information in the appeals court decision.

A search of his car turned up 18 boxes of pseudoephedrine, a one-hitter, marijuana and a syringe with methamphetamine residue.

When Greene was taken to the New Richmond Police Department, he waived his rights and talked to police. He claimed he agreed to provide information about meth labs in exchange for not being charged with a felony and not doing jail time.

Detective Tony Milliron said he told Greene police would do what they could to help him with the charges if the information was good.

Greene gave police information about three meth labs. That information led to the arrest of three people on drug charges.

St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson filed three felony and three misdemeanor charges against Greene, who was held in jail for nearly 10 months because he couldn't post the $25,000 cash bond.

Greene reached a plea agreement with the DA. All the charges, except possession of methamphetamine, were dismissed. On Aug. 18, 2005, Judge Lundell found Greene guilty of that charge and sentenced him to three years probation and 302 days in jail with credit for time served.

Greene was released, but his probation was revoked Jan. 13, 2006, and he was taken back to jail. Two weeks later, Lundell sentenced him on the probation revocation, ordering Greene to serve a year in jail with credit for time served. Greene was released Jan. 31, and this appeal was filed in February.

After the district attorney filed the felony charges, Greene asked Judge Lundell to require law enforcement officials to honor the agreement Greene felt he had arranged with Milliron. But Milliron and Investigator Daniel Breymeier testified a deal hadn't been offered because they couldn't make a deal and could only advise the DA of Greene's cooperation.

Lundell denied Greene's motion, finding there was no agreement between him and the police.

In its decision, the appeals court noted that the county judge had found the officers‚ testimony more credible than Greene's testimony. The appeals court deferred to Lundell's finding of credibility and fact.

Wisconsin already requires that police make audio or audio and visual recordings of interrogations of juveniles but hasn't yet extended that rule to questioning of adults.

The appeals court said it doesn't have authority to create that rule.