Monthly Archives: April 2011

Muni-mail – Police Dispatcher’s error leads to suppress of drugs – State v. Handy

 [ 04/26/11 – 11:28 am] In a 5-2 decision this morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that unreasonable conduct by a police dispatcher in negligently providing the police with inaccurate information must result in a suppression of evidence. In the case, captioned State v. Handy, the police stopped a young man for riding his bicycle on a sidewalk, an offense that was a violation of a local ordinance. The police called in to their local dispatcher for a warrant check. The dispatcher reported that there was an active warrant for the young man they had stopped. Accordingly, the police arrested the bicyclist and conducted a search incident to the arrest that led to the rec overy of illegal drugs. Subsequently, it was discovered that there was no active warrant for the person the police had stopped. The police dispatcher had given the police information related to a person with a similar name with a different spelling, a different date of birth and an address in California. Writing for the Court, Justice Long held that the unreasonable conduct by the dispatcher, as an agent of the police, would be held against the police and must result in the suppression of the evidence seized following the arrest.

Download a copy of State v. Handy.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive

Muni-mail – “Mom, You senile old bitch!” not harassment – EMB v. RFB

 [04/19/11 – 10:30 pm] In this morning’s Appellate Division decision in EMB v. RFB, the court ruled that purported acts of theft by a son (56 years old) against his mother (88 years old) as well as the statement calling his mother, “a senile old bitch” did not constitute an act of harassment within the meaning of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The Court noted that theft is not one of the predicate offenses included under the act. Moreover, to qualify as an act of domestic violence, the proofs would have to demonstrate that the thefts were committed with the purpose to alarm or seriously annoy the victim. Those proofs were lacking in this case. In terms of the “old bitch” comment, the evidence did not support the requirement that the offending remark be made with a purpose to harass the victim as opposed to simply expressing the opinion of the speaker.

Download a copy of EMB v. RFB.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive

Violation of Statute Does NOT Require Suppression – State v. NGUYEN

 [04/15/11 – 4:40 pm] In today’s decision in State v. Nguyen, the Appellate Division ruled that a violation of a statute related to the conduct of searches by the police does not have to result in the suppress of evidence if no privacy interest is implicated.

Download a copy of State v. Nguyen.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive

Muni-mail – Community Caretaking Exception Applies to Homes in NJ – State v. Witczak

 [04-13-11 – 9:02 am] Yesterday, the Appellate Division ruled that under New Jersey law, the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement applies to homes or residences. This holding is extremely significant in that it is precisely the opposite of a ruling made in a New Jersey case by the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Noting that the circuit courts of appeal around the country are split on this issue and that the United States Supreme Court has not specifically decided this question, the Appellate Division ruled that this exception applies in our state in the context of residence searches. Despite this legal holding, the Court also ruled in the case, captioned State v. Witczak, that the facts of the case (residential entry to recover a pistol used in an aggravated assault) did not support the requirements of the community caretaking exception.

Download a copy of State v. Witczak.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive

Muni-mail – Only a Public Prosecutor May Appeal Dismissed Case – State v. Bradley

 [04/07/11 – 10:36 am] This morning, the Appellate Division ruled that only a public prosecutor has standing to appeal the dismissal of a municipal court case to both the Law Division and Appellate Division. The the case, captioned State v. Bradley, the court administrator refused to issue process on a complaint based upon a lack of probable cause. That determination was reviewed by a municipal court judge and the complaint was dismissed. The complainant moved to appeal the dismissal before the law division, claiming that a citizen complainant has standing to do so under the Rules of Court. However, the Appellate Division rejected this argument, holding that private citizens have no such right and these types of appeals may only be exercised by a public prosecutor.

Download a copy of State v. Bradley.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive

Muni-mail – Temperature Probe Similar to Ertco-Hart is ok – State v. Holland

 [04/05/11 – 9:41] This morning, the Appellate Division ruled that a temperature probe that is substantially similar to the Ertco-Hart probe that is now widely in use in Alcotest instruments around the state is perfectly acceptable as a substitute temperature probe.

Download a copy of State v. Holland.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive