State v. Shannon, 419 N.J. Super 235 (App. Div. 2011)

Shannon was stopped in a high-crime area for speeding and running a red light. Four police officers were present. They smell of marijuana was emanating from the car. When Shannon exited the car, they patted him down, searched inside the car where they found crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana. They arrested Shannon, handcuffed and placed him in the back seat of a police car.

Defendant filed a motion to supress evidence. The trial court denied the order and the defendant appealed. The Appellate Court reversed.

Finding no exigency, the Court of Appeals held that the police reasonably could have obtained a telephonic warrant before searching the defendant’s car. The court relied on the following factors:

1) The stop was unexpected and caused by motor vehicle infractions.
2) There was no indication that the police officers did not have sufficient time to obtain a telephonic warrant pursuant to Rule 3:5–3(b).
3) It was not late at night, the stop was in a residential area, and four police officers were initially present at the scene with defendant, who was alone.
4) No one had approached the vehicle during the stop.
5) There was no evidence that the police officers or potential evidence in the car were in danger.
6) Defendant was cooperative and had stepped away from the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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