State v. Rustin
Appellate Docket No.: A-2241-18T2
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In an unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division of New Jersey heard argument on the issue of the ability to suppress video evidence that was obtained by police through a private third party.
In State v. Rustin, police responded to reports of gunshots. At the scene, police observed shell casings, tire marks, and damage to a staircase that was attached to the building. Nearby, police noticed a security camera on the exterior of a private residence. Police requested this video from the homeowner, to which the homeowner agreed to turn over the video. The Police did not obtain a search warrant for this video. The video showed incriminating evidence of the Defendants discharging firearms.
Defendants moved to suppress the video evidence obtained from the private residence. In order to suppress evidence claimed from an unreasonable search and seizure, a criminal defendant must have either a proprietary, possessory, or participatory interest in either the place searched or the property seized.
The Trial Court ruled the Defendants did not have a proprietary, possessory or participatory interest in the private individual’s home, the security cameras, or the video recordings produced, because the private individual was not involved in defendants’ criminal activity. The crimes did not take place in the private citizen’s home. The video recordings were not objects used by the defendants in carrying out their crimes. The Trial Court ruled the Defendants had no direct connection with the security camera, and therefore, lacked standing to suppress the evidence. The Appellate Division affirmed the Trial Court’s decision.
In summary, a Defendant in a criminal matter must have standing to challenge evidence seized by police. To have standing, the Defendant must have some direct connection with the place it was seized, the evidence itself, or a connection with the crime being committed (i.e. suppressing evidence of a gun when the charge is unlawful possession).
At Hark & Hark, we represent clients in Superior Court for criminal matters like the present case involving motions to suppress. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to uphold their constitutional rights, and ensure law enforcement follow proper procedures to legally make an arrest.
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