I represented a person who was stopped by police without a search warrant and without any reasonable suspicion. The police stopped my client while he was just standing on the sidewalk. They did not observe him engage in any illegal or criminal activity. When my client started to walk away, four police officers approached him and ordered him to stop. The police reported that my client threw a small bag of marijuana to the ground and then arrested him. Back at the police station, the police searched my client’s backpack and found more marijuana, Xanax pills and a handgun.
I filed a motion to suppress the marijuana and the contents in the backpack as a result of the police’ s unlawful search of my client. At the hearing, the detective testified that he conducted a simple stop and inquiry of my client. The trial court held that the warrantless search of my client was constitutional despite the fact that there was no suspicion that he was engaged in any criminal behavior.
My client appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress. My client argued before the New Jersey Appellate Division that the police did not lawfully stop him. Since the police did not believe he was involved in any criminal activity, there was no lawful basis to order him to stop while standing alone on the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon. The NJ Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s denial of my client’s motion to suppress. The appellate judges ruled that the police only informed my client to stop and that he was free to leave.
My client did not give up and appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court. My client argued before the NJ Supreme Court that the warrantless search conducted by the police was invalid. My client argued that when he was approached by four police officers, the officers conducted a stop and he was not free to leave and just walk away. Since the officers’ order to stop prevented my client’s right to move, and he was not free to leave the scene. More importantly, the police officers had no reason or suspicion to order my client to stop. Since there was no reason to order my client to stop, the search by the police was unlawful and against both the New Jersey and United States Constitution.
As a result of the hearing, the New Jersey Supreme Court kicked my client’s case back to the trial judge for another hearing on the motion to suppress. The NJ Supreme Court agreed that the police did not have a reasonable suspicion to order my client to stop while he was standing alone on a sidewalk. The Justices ordered a new hearing on the motion to suppress to require the police to explain why they stopped my client for no reason. The Prosecutor’s Office realized the officers did not have a basis to stop my client and offered my client “time served” and abandoned its prosecution.
This result for my client is the justice that I fight for throughout the State of New Jersey when I represent clients who are unjustly arrested and charged with crimes as a result of unlawful and illegal searches conducted by over-zealous and aggressive police officers.
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I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s search and seizure laws are extremely complex. Anyone who is charged with a criminal offense after a search conducted by police needs to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are a family member were arrested after a search by police in New Jersey, contact me immediately so I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances a successful motion to suppress can lead to the dismissal of the charges against you. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.