Please note: ESPOS Test Prep provides "LEGAL UPDATES" as a resource to assist candidates and law enforcement personnel. However, no changes to existing policies, procedures, rules and regulations are recommended without the direct guidance of and consultation with your respective agency’s legal advisor. We only provide updates to keep you informed.
High Court Permits Warrantless Blood Draws From Unconscious Drunk Drivers
Posted July 3, 2019 - Is a warrant required for a blood test when an officer has probable cause to believe a motorist has been driving while under the influence of alcohol, but the motorist is unconscious and cannot be given a breath test? Recently, in Mitchell v. Wisconsin (U.S. 2019), the United States Supreme Court said no. Click here to read more.
Tow and Impound of Vehicle Does Not Alter NJ Automobile Exception
Posted May 5, 2019 - In early May, the Appellate Division reversed a trial court ruling that ordered the suppression of evidence seized during a motor vehicle stop on the basis that a search conducted under the New Jersey Automobile Exception was improper because the police had sufficient grounds to tow and impound the vehicle. In a published decision, State of New Jersey v. Juan Rodriguez (A-0180-18T4), the court held that “the police officers were not required to impound [the] defendant's vehicle in order to search it under the circumstances presented. Click here to read more.
US Supreme Court Limits Excessive Forfeitures as Criminal Penalties
Posted February 28, 2019 - In Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U.S. ___ (2019), the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that states cannot impose excessive fees, fines and forfeitures as criminal penalties. The Court’s decision underscores that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “excessive fines” applies to states and localities as well as the federal government.
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No Delay in Transportation of Arrestee for Prayer
Posted July 1, 2018 - If an officer places a suspect under arrest and orders the suspect to enter a police vehicle for transportation to jail, does the suspect have a right to delay that trip by insisting on first engaging in prayer? Recently, in Sause v. Bauer, (US 6-28-18), the United States Supreme Court said no! Once placed under arrest, the suspect does not have a right to delay that trip by insisting on first engaging in prayer—“conduct that, at another time, would be protected by the First Amendment.” Click here to read more.
US Supreme Court Protects Cell Phone Location Information
Posted June 24, 2018 - Does an individual have a constitutional right of privacy in his or her cell-phone location information? Recently, in Carpenter v. United States (US 6-22-18), the United States Supreme Court said yes! The question before the Court was how to apply the Fourth Amendment to the personal location information maintained by a third party and law enforcement’s “ability to chronicle a person’s past movements through the record of his cell phone signals.” The United States Supreme Court held that the Government’s acquisition of cell-site records revealing the location of a cell phone whenever it made or received calls was a Fourth Amendment search. Click here to read more.
Driveway Car Searches Unlawful Without a Warrant
Posted May 31, 2018 - Does the automobile exception permit a law enforcement officer, uninvited and without a warrant, to enter the curtilage of a home in order to search a vehicle parked at the top of the home’s driveway? Recently, in Collins v. Virginia, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), the United States Supreme Court said no! “The automobile exception does not afford the necessary lawful right of access to search a vehicle parked within a home or its curtilage because it does not justify an intrusion on a person’s separate and substantial Fourth Amendment interest in his home and curtilage.” Click here to read more.
Megan’s Law: Lifetime Registration Requirements for Juvenile Sex Offenders Held Unconstitutional
Posted May 15, 2018 - In State In Interest of C.K. (NJ 2018), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that N.J.S. 2C:7-2(g) is unconstitutional as applied to juveniles adjudicated delinquent as sex offenders. The Court held that “subsection (g)’s lifetime registration and notification requirements as applied to juveniles violate the substantive due process guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution.” Click here to read more.
NJ Appellate Court Sends Harsh Message in Police Interpreter Case
Posted April 22, 2018 - A NJ Appellate Court sends a harsh message to Departments that rely on police officer interpreters during custodial interrogations of non-English-speaking suspects. In State v. A.M. (App.Div. 2018), the Appellate Division held that defendant’s incriminating statements should have been suppressed because the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decision to waive his Miranda rights. Click here to read more.
U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Police in a Deadly Force Case
Posted April 16, 2018 - In Kisela v. Hughes, 584 U.S. ___, (2018), a §1983 civil rights lawsuit involving an officer’s use of deadly force, the United States Supreme Court held that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity because his actions did not violate “clearly established law.” Click here to read more.
US Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Police in D.C. House Party Case
Posted January 29, 2018 - In District of Columbia v. Wesby, 583 U.S. 577 (2018), the United States Supreme Court rejected a claim made by sixteen trespassing partygoers that the police lacked probable cause to arrest them. The circumstances unfolded at about 1:00 a.m. in the middle of March, when District of Columbia police officers responded to a complaint about loud music and illegal activities at a house described as “vacant” by the caller, a former neighborhood commissioner. Upon arrival, several neighbors confirmed that the house should have been empty. Click here to read more.
NJ Supreme Court Clarifies the Malfunctioning Taillight Issue
Posted January 31, 2018 - In State v. Sutherland (NJ 2018), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Title 39 requires a motor vehicle to have two working rear lamps, with at least one working lamp on each side. The trial court found the stop unlawful, but the Appellate Division reversed, holding that the relevant motor vehicle statutes were ambiguous and, based on Heien v. North Carolina, the officer’s stop of Sutherland’s car was based on a reasonable mistake of law, and therefore did not require suppression. The New Jersey Supreme Court disagreed and reversed. Click here to read more.
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