People Must Submit to Good Faith Detentions – State v. Crawley

This morning the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that when police officers, acting in good faith, respond to a radio dispatch related to suspicious behavior, they are engaged in a lawful activity. As such, a person who becomes the subject of a police order to remain at the scene of an investigation must submit to the police command, even if the detention is not based upon a reasonable suspicion.

The defendant is the instant case fled from a police investigative encounter and was charged with obstructing the administration of law under NJSA 2C:29-1. The defendant maintained that since his detention was not based upon reasonable suspicion, the police were not engaged in “lawfully performing an official function.,” an element of NJSA 2C:29-1.

Writing for the Court, Justice Albin concluded that, as a matter of public policy, persons who are subject to good faith police investigative detentions, even those that are not based upon reasonable suspicion, must submit and may subsequently raise in court challenges to the reasonableness of the police actions.

This holding is entirely consistent with previous case law interpreting the resisting arrest and eluding statutes.

Download a copy of State v. Crawley.

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