Muni-mail – “Animal House” Raid by Cops Unreasonable – State v. Kaltner
[07-04-11 - 9:55 pm] Last week, the Appellate Division ruled that a police raid of an animal house residence during a raucus party was unreasonable. The ruling affirmed a Law Division holding that suppressed illegal drugs found by the police during a search. The Long Branch residence, inhabited by Monmouth University fraternity brothers, had been the subject of police involvement for excessive noise on a previous occasion. A local Long Branch ordinance outlaws excessive noise. During the early morning hours of October 22, 2009, the police were dispatched to the residence on a noise complaint and found it to be mobbed with as many as 150 people, many of whom were drunk and noisy. The police were initially invited inside the common area of the residence by a random party-goer. Thereafter, the police spread out through the residence in an attempt to locate any responsible person who lived there. While searching on the third floor, the police entered the bedroom of the defendant and noticed illegal drugs in plain view near his bed. The defendant was not at the party and was later arrested and charged with drug offenses.
Although the State argued that the police activities at the party were justified as a community caretaking function, the Appellate Division found the police actions in searching the residence in this manner to be unreasonable and sustained the suppression of the drug evidence.
Download a copy of State v. Kaltner.
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