Video of Supreme Court Oral Argument in Eckel & Badessa

On Tuesday September 13, 2005, two cases of importance in municipal court were argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Last December, In State v. Eckel, 374 N.J. 91 (App. Div. 2004), the Appellate Division abrogated, on state constitutional grounds, the so-called “Belton Rule” (New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)).Generally, this rule permits a police search of an automobile incident to the arrest of one of the occupants. The argument before the Supreme Court was an attempt by the State to persuade the Justices to reverse the Appellate Division holding. The oral argument in State v. Eckel can be viewed by going to the following link:

View the Video

Also during the morning session of the 13th of September, the Justices heard argument in the case of State v. Badessa, 373 N.J. Super. 84 (App. Div. 2004). Badessa is a drunk driving and refusal case that was subject to a motion to suppress. The defendant was acquitted of the DWI charge in municipal court, found guilty of refusal and his motion to suppress was denied. In the Appellate Division, the panel agreed that his motion to suppress should have been granted, but sustain his refusal conviction under the so-called “attenuation doctrine”, the theory being that “because [his] voluntary and illegal act of refusal would dissipate the taint of any possible prior illegality, thus precluding the refusal from being characterized as ‘fruit of the poisonous tree.'” State v. Badessa, supra at 90.

The oral argument in Badessa can be viewed by going to the following link:

View the Video.

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