Monday, December 31, 2012

Motions to Suppress Evidence: Your Constitutional Right Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In State v. Shaw the New Jersey Supreme Court suppressed two bricks of heroin.  In this case a joint fugitive warrant task force was executing a number of fugitive warrants in a multi-unit apartment complex.  In the way in the officers noticed a black male (Don Shaw) leaving the apartment.  When they asked the individual his name he refused, and on that basis they detained the individual.  Mr. Shaw was detained until a parole officer arrived on the scene to check whether Mr. Shaw was listed as a parole violator on his list.  Because Mr. Shaw was listed as a parole violator and wanted, he was arrested.  In searching Mr. Shaw (search incident to the arrest) it was discovered on Shaw  two bricks of heroin individually wrapped into smaller zip log bags.

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that it was unlawful for the task force officers to detained Mr. Shaw because of his refusal to give his name.  In fact, under our state and federal constitution no one can be detained for refusing to give his or her name when confronted by a law enforcement officer on the street.  In fact when confronted by the police in any circumstances our constitution permits complete silence in response to police questioning. 

In addition, the police did not have the requisite level of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain him because there was no evidence other than the color of his skin that he was wanted as a fugitive in that apartment complex.

The court further held that any field inquiry becomes an investigative stop when a reasonable person would believe that they are no longer free to leave.  An investigative stop is only permitted if it is based on a set of specific articulable facts in which a rational inference can be made that there might be a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

The court further held that the subsequent discovery that Shaw had a parole warrant was insufficient to purge the unlawful detention and that the parole warrant was not an intervening circumstances to allow the search.  Hence, any contraband seized, which in this case was two bricks of heroin was suppressed as fruits of the poisonous tree.
If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute CDS, controlled dangerous substance such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana or any illegal drug, or other non-prescription narcotics you should consult with Attorney Sanzone who has achieved successful results in filing motions to suppress and suppressing CDS in Union, Essex, Hudson, Somerset, Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Mercer counties.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
277 North Broad Street
P.O. Box 261
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
Office Phone No. (908) 354-7006
Cell Phone No.   (201) 240-5716
Dated: December 31, 2012

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