Motion To Suppress Physical Evidence Seized as a Result of an Unlawful Search

State of New Jersey v. Carlos Sanchez

Docket No. A-0930-20

Decided November 16, 2022

Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal from an order denying his motion to suppress evidence seized by police without a warrant from his mother’s home.

At around 5:45 a.m. on February 4, 2016, officers and a DEA Regional SWAT team executed a no-knock search warrant search of defendant’s house. When the officers entered defendant’s home, they encountered defendant and his two daughters. Defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and informed that officers were conducting a narcotics investigation. A detective questioned the defendant about where he kept his drugs, and defendant stated that he had stowed cocaine at his parents’ house nearby, on the same street. Police then ran into defendant’s mother after she was informed by defendant’s sister about the police’s presence in his house. Defendant’s mother inquired what was going on and the police did not answer her question. After being escorted back to her residence by officers, defendant’s mother asked the officers once more what they were doing there and told them they should not be there. She then called defendant’s sister and spoke to her for a few minutes before the officers took her cell phone. Defendant’s sister called her back and instructed her to advise the officers they did not have permission to be in her mother’s home, which she did.

Defendant’s father was present in defendant’s mother’s home as well that morning. Although still married to defendant’s mother, he was living with defendant since the couple was separated. He had stayed the previous night in that home and was in the bathroom when officers entered defendant’s mother’s home. After permitting the officers to enter the home, defendant’s father declined signing a consent to search form for defendant’s mother’s home at first. After being advised of what the form stated verbally in Spanish, defendant’s father indicated to officers he did not have any questions and signed the consent form. Defendant then advised officers he had a bag containing drugs in the closet of the single bedroom of his mother’s home and signed a consent to search form granting police permission to search the bag. The bag was subsequently seized, and just as defendant specified, cocaine and money were found inside. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized from his mother’s home, contending that the police did not have valid consent to enter the home or search the premises. The trial court denied the motion and defendant appealed.

On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred in its decision to deny his suppression motion because the police searched defendant’s mother’s house without a warrant and the exigent circumstances and consent exceptions to the warrant requirement did not apply. The Appellate Court disagreed and determined under the totality of the circumstances, that the police’s warrantless entry did not violate defendant’s constitutional rights since no officer attempted to search defendant’s mother’s home until police received consent to search forms later that morning. The court also found that the seized bag in the closet was not located on account of his mother’s detention and not subject to suppression. The Appellate Court also ruled that defendant’s father was a co-tenant of defendant’s mother based off of sufficient credible evidence established in the record from the trial court. He even consented to the search in defendant’s mother’s presence in the dining room. Thus, the evidence seized from defendant’s mother’s home was not tainted. However, the matter was remanded only to the sentencing court for court for modification of the judgment of conviction to reflect an additional day of jail credit due defendant.

At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to motions to suppress physical evidence seized as a result of an unlawful search. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.

We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation to that of the defendant in this case, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington, Haddon Heights, Pine Hill, Bellmawr, Haddon Township, Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.


Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

Leave a Comment