After Gun Is Discharged A Warrantless Search Is Upheld Over Objection of Resident
- September 3, 2014
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Michael Lamb fired a handgun at others on a public street. Sometime later police found his vehicle in front of the trailer home in which he resided with his family. In State v. Lamb, the NJ Supreme Court recently decided whether a warrantless search could be upheld when one party at the scene consents after another strongly objecting party has been removed from the scene by police. Upon seeing the police, Lamb’s step-father, Steven Marcus, immediately advised them they were not permitted upon his property. Police then proceeded to remove Lamb’s step-father from the scene. Thereafter, they were able to coax Lamb from the residence and he was arrested. Police then sought consent to enter the trailer home and Lamb’s mother agreed. Within Lamb’s bedroom a box containing a handgun was located and used against him at trial. The court looked at multiple factors in upholding the warrantless search over the initial objections of Lamb’s step-father. Factors included the proximity in time to the shots fired, the fact that the individual refusing consent was no longer present and the eventual consent of Lamb’s mother. Countervailing factors including the initial objection of Marcus, the fact that Lamb’s removal from the residence also removed the likelihood of danger from further shots fired and the ability of police to obtain a warrant did not serve to render the search invalid. In another case decided at the same time, the NJ Supreme Court held a warrantless search valid when consent was obtained from a homeowner to search the locked room of a relative who resided in the home but was being detained nearby. In State v. Coles, the fact that the police had detained Byseem Coles nearby was a substantial factor in holding the search to be invalid although his aunt had granted consent to search his room. In spite of the ruling in Coles, where the defendant was being detained nearby while permission was sought from Coles’ aunt, the court upheld the search in Lamb even though Marcus, who plainly and vehemently objected to the search, was removed from the scene by police. If you are facing charges for weapons offenses or believe that evidence against you was obtained illegally, you should obtain experienced criminal defense counsel immediately. For more information about use or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a handgun without a permit, unlawful possession of a weapon, use or possession of a weapon in the commission in the commission of a crime or other criminal charges in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.