Plain View seizure of evidence – State v. Pineiro

Yesterday, the Appellate Division released State v. Pineiro, a search and seizure case out of Essex County. Defendant, a deputy sheriff’s officer, was observed (and video-taped) removing data processing equipment from the trial court administrator’s office. That office had been experiencing a recent rash of equipment thefts. Based upon these facts, investigators were able to obtain both an arrest warrant and a search warrant for the defendant’s apartment.

When the police went to serve the warrants, the defendant voluntarily admitted them into his apartment without being told by the police that their purpose was to arrest him and search his home. Within a few moments of their entry, the police noticed various data processing equipment which the defendant readily admitted he had stolen.

The defendant’s motion to suppress was based upon the judicial finding of probable cause to support the issuance of the arrest and search warrants. In this opinion, Judge Skillman engages in an excellent review and discussion of both the concept of probable cause and the “plain view” exception to the warrant requirement.

Download a copy of State v. Pineiro

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