Warrant Exceptions: Emergency Aid and Community Caretaker

Maison blanche, la nuit
(White House at Night)

Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
[Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons

Factual Summary

On July 26, 2012, nj.com reported the New Jersey Supreme Court had suppressed evidence in State v. Shareef Edmonds. Upholding the lower courts, the Supreme Court majority determined the police broke the law when they searched a residence without a warrant and found a weapon.

A 911 call brought police to Kamilah Richardson's Carteret residence, according to the Court's opinion. Allegedly Richardson's brother, the caller said Richardson was a domestic violence victim. The caller also reported a gun in the residence.

After an exchange with Richardson outside her apartment, police entered despite Richardson's disapproval. Police found Shareef Edmonds watching television while seated on a couch, and Richardson's son. But they observed nothing to indicate imminent threat or ongoing danger. Subsequently, the police searched the premises and found a handgun.

Legal Framework Summary

Under the law, the government must pay the greatest degree of respect to an individual's privacy in the home.

Indeed, the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourth Amendment plainly state, "The right of the people to be secure in their . . . houses
. . . against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."

Therefore, the fruit of a warrantless search must be suppressed unless the facts fall within an exception.

Emergency Aid Exception

The Emergency Aid Exception allows warrantless activity in private homes to preserve life or prevent serious injury. Based on common sense, New Jersey courts apply the following factors:

First, the circumstances must provide an objectively reasonable basis about an emergency requiring immediate assistance to protect life or prevent serious injury; and

Second, there must be a reasonable nexus between the emergency and the area or places to searched.

Note: The Court aligned New Jersey and Federal law here, discarding the factor relating to the officer's subjective motivations. This development lightens the State's burden.

Community Caretaker Exception

Separate and apart from law enforcement, police provide social services. Similar to the Emergency Aid Doctrine, police usually provide these caretaking services in emergency situations. Furthermore, this exception applies only in circumstances that are completely removed from the investigation of criminal activity. Importantly, this exception does not provide carte blanche authority to search homes without a warrant.

Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases regarding searches, seizures, and arrests. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Pretrial Intervention--Legal Criteria to Consider

Eve (Don't Listen to the Liar)
By Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons.
Nineteen year old Michael Conway will apply for Pretrial Intervention. The July 3, 2012, Daily Record reported that the State charged Conway with providing false information to police. When police questioned Conway, the Morristown teenager allegedly denied personal knowledge about a robbery involving Lennon Baldwin. But it seems police later obtained evidence to the contrary. Following the robbery, Baldwin committed suicide. Conway has graduated from Morristown High School.

Successful completion of PTI depends on a variety of factors. First, applicants must exhibit amenability to correction. Next, participants must render responsiveness to ‎rehabilitation. Furthermore, the nature of the offense charged may disqualify willing applicants. Finally, successful PTI is based on a relationship of trust between the applicant and PTI ‎staff.

Some more concrete criteria include, but are not limited to: ‎

1. the offense;
2. the particular facts;
3. the applicant’s age and motive for the crime;
4. the victim’s ‎dispensation with prosecution;
5. the victim’s and society’s needs and interests;
6. the applicant's prior record;
7. ‎whether prosecution would make the problem ‎worse;
8. history of violence to others; and
9. involvement with organized crime.

Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases regarding Pretrial Intervention. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Benefits of PTI--Court Compels Carlstadt Mayor Into Pretrial Intervention

William Roseman
Mayor of Carlstadt, NJ
Source: Carlstadt Website
New Jersey Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi, J.S.C., recently compelled the admission of William Roseman into Pretrial Intervention. Roseman is Mayor of Carlstadt, New Jersey, according to a July 12, 2012, nj.com report. Roseman's attorney emphasized he had always maintained his innocence.

The State filed an indictment, and a superseding indictment, charging Roseman and a co-defendant with Official Misconduct, Theft by Deception, and Conspiracy. The charges allegedly arose because Roseman did not remove his co-defendant from his medical and dental insurance plans provided by the town, according to various news reports from NorthJersey.com and nj.com.

Judge DeAvila-Silebi found no evidence in the record to establish the elements of Theft by Deception. Overruling the State's objection, Judge DeAvila-Silebi based this opinion on more than 2,000 documents and transcripts, according to reports from NorthJersey.com on July 6, and July 12, 2012.

Roseman must perform 25 hours community service.


First, completion of PTI results in dismissal of the charges, which in turn allows the successful participant to avoid a criminal conviction. 
Second, rehabilitative services can begin soon after the alleged offense, allowing early initiation of services geared at correcting the behavior that led to the offense. 
Third, PTI admission eliminates many of the costs of formal court procedures. 
Fourth, PTI enables the victim, the public, and the defendant to put the matter behind them and move forward.
Finally, PTI reduces case loads, allowing courts to focus on more serious criminals.
Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases regarding Pretrial Intervention. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.