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Drug Suppression Motion For Warrantless Search Denied

Drug Suppression Motion For Warrantless Search Denied

In State v. Salladino the defendant was indicted for 3rd theft of movable property (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3) and 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a1). The defendant won a suppression motion relating to the Oxycodone found during the warrantless search by police. The prosecution filed an interlocutory appeal and the N.J. Appellate Court determined that, although the Oxycodone was found during a search of the defendant’s person exceeding the scope of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the drugs would have inevitably been discovered when the defendant was searched incident to the arrest for the robbery charges. According to the court’s holding in State v. Sugar, 100, N.J. 211 (1985) if the evidence would have inevitably been discovered as a result of an independent and predictable circumstance, it remains admissible even if seized by other unlawful means. The Appellate division held that the suppression motion should not have been granted and remanded for further proceedings. Following a call from a robbery victim, police located 2 suspects in the vicinity matching the description given by the victim. The officer in charge of the investigation ordered that the suspects be brought before the victim for a show-up identification. Prior to transporting Salladino to the show-up, a police officer conducted a pat-down search of the defendant to ensure the defendant has no weapons. During the frisk, the officer felt a “hard bulge” and retrieved a pill bottle without a label or lid which contained 83 Percocet pills. The officer seized the pills but made no arrest regarding the Percocet. The suspects were positively identified by the victim during a show-up identification and they were arrested. At no time between the stop and the arrest could the defendant have removed the pills from his person without notice by the police, therefore, the Percocet would have been inevitably discovered during the search incident to arrest even though retrieving the pill bottle from the defendant’s person exceeded the scope of a Terry stop as there was no reasonable basis to conclude the defendant was armed and the officer never claimed he believed the “hard bulge” was a weapon. If you are facing drug charges and believe evidence obtained against you may have been obtained in violation of your rights, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. For more information about controlled dangerous substances, robbery, warrantless searches, CDS in a motor vehicle or other criminal issues in NJ visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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