State of NJ v. Davila

Argued Feb. 2, 2010.

Decided July 14, 2010.

Background: Defendant was convicted on his guilty plea in the Superior Court, Law Division, Essex County, of two counts of felony murder and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. Defendant appealed. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, 2009 WL 1010931, affirmed. Defendant petitioned for certification.

Holdings: The Supreme Court, LaVecchia, J., held that:

(1) trial court’s conclusion that occupant consented to police officers’ entry into apartment rested on a credibility determination for which there was adequate, substantial, and credible support in the record;

(2) as a matter of first impression, a protective sweep conducted on private property is not per se invalid merely because it does not occur incident to an arrest;

(3) a protective sweep may occur when law enforcement officers are lawfully within the private premises for a legitimate purpose and the officers on the scene have a reasonable articulable suspicion that the area to be swept harbors an individual posing a danger; and

(4) remand was required.

Judgment of Appellate Division reversed; matter remanded.

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