Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Police Dispatcher Misidentifying Detained Suspect Calls for the Suppression of Evidence from the Wrongly Arrested Suspect

On April 26, 2011 the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Handy suppressed narcotics seized from a defendant who was wrongly identified by a police dispatcher has having an open warrant.

The facts of the case were that a Millville Police Officer requested from the police dispatcher the confirmation of identities of a number of individuals detained and not possessing any identification.  The police dispatcher advised the officer that Mr. Handy had an open warrant and Mr. Handy was arrested.  A search incident to the arrest revealed that Mr. Handy was in possession of CDS and was charged with that offense.  The dispatcher advised the officer that Mr. Handy had a warrant notwithstanding that Mr. Handy had given the officer his date of birth which was different than the one listed on the warrant.

The Supreme Court reversed the conviction holding that the Appellate Division erred in holding that the officer acted reasonably and good faith.  This case by the Supreme Court for the first time holds that a police dispatcher is an integral part of law enforcement and that errors made by a police dispatcher either intentionally or negligently will be visited upon the police officer relying on such erroneous information.  Accordingly, such an arrest is an illegal arrest and any evidence seized by such erroneous information, leading to an illegal arrest, will be suppressed.

For more information regarding the suppression of contraband in any criminal case in New Jersey you are invited to consult the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., at CriminalDefenseNJ.com

Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
(908) 354-7006

Dated: May 24, 2011

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