Calandra, U. After reviewing the objectives of the exclusionary rule, the Court concluded that "it c[ould] not be expected, and should not be applied, to deter objectively reasonable law enforcement activity. Thus, weighing the costs and benefits of exclusion of the evidence at issue, the Court determined that suppression was inappropriate. Thus sprang into being the "good faith exception" to the exclusionary rule. Since Leon, the Supreme Court has expanded the good faith exception to include situations similar to that presently before this Court. In Evans, supra, the Supreme Court addressed "whether evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment by an officer who acted in reliance on a police record indicating the existence of an out-standing arrest warrant — a record that is later determined to be erroneous — must be suppressed by virtue of the exclusionary rule.
In that case, the warrant for the defendant's arrest had been quashed seventeen days prior to his arrest; however, for an undetermined reason, the warrant remained in police computer records. The State conceded that the defendant's arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
Despite that constitutional violation, the Court found that the "[a]pplication of the Leon framework support[ed] a categorical exception to the exclusionary rule for clerical errors of court employees. In Herring, supra, the Supreme Court answered the "unresolved" question in Evans: "whether the evidence should be suppressed if police personnel [rather than judicial clerks] were responsible for the error.
The defendant in Herring drove to the sheriff's department to retrieve items from his impounded truck and was recognized by one of the police investigators. See id. Upon inquiry, the investigator was informed that an active arrest warrant existed for the defendant.
The officer arrested the defendant and conducted a search incident to that arrest that revealed narcotics and a weapon. It was later discovered that the warrant had been recalled five months earlier, but the recall had not been updated in the relevant database. Importantly, like in Evans, the Court accepted the parties' assumption that a Fourth Amendment violation occurred and restricted the analysis to whether the exclusionary rule should apply.
The Court again relied on the Leon framework and maintained that "the benefits of deterrence must outweigh the costs" of applying the exclusionary rule. In its decision, the Court expressed concern that "the good-faith exception w[ould] ultimately reduce respect for and compliance with the probable-cause standard.
The Court also characterized the exclusionary rule as "an integral element of our state-constitutional guarantee," noting that "[i]ts function is not merely to deter police misconduct [but] This Court has not retreated from its rejection of a good faith exception. Adkins, N. The panel noted that while the parties disputed who was at fault for the failure to update the record, there was "no dispute that the arresting officer acted in good faith in executing what he thought was a valid warrant.
However, "[t]he inescapable consequence, after the finger-pointing [wa]s over, [wa]s that defendant was arrested illegally. Therefore, the Appellate Division concluded that "the fruits of such an unlawful arrest [we]re not available to the State for [the defendant's] prosecution even though the particular arresting officer acted in good faith and without culpability. The panel rejected the State's argument that "th[e] mistaken arrest situation [i]s different from the issuance of a bad search warrant in Novembrino, " finding "no justifiable distinction between a judicial error on the existence of probable cause" and the administrative errors committed in that case.
By contrast, in Diloreto, supra, this Court found no constitutional violation, and thus did not apply the exclusionary rule, in circumstances in which officers relied, in part, on misinformation from the National Crime Information Center NCIC database in questioning, detaining, and conducting a pat-down search of the defendant.
More specifically, the Court concluded that, given an NCIC alert that the defendant was an "endangered" missing person along with other factors, the community caretaker doctrine justified the police conduct. In discussing the role of the officer's reliance on the erroneous NCIC alert in its decision, the Court acknowledged that it had rejected the good faith exception in Novembrino; however, because "the error in failing to remove defendant's name from the NCIC database occurred not within the framework of an intended prosecution, but under the protective rubric of the community caretaker doctrine," Novembrino was inapplicable.
In Pitcher, supra, the Appellate Division similarly dealt with a database error; this time, misinformation in the motor vehicle database reflected that the defendant's license was suspended. The defendant was stopped based on that misinformation, and the officer observed that the defendant was intoxicated. In moving to suppress the evidence of intoxication, the defendant argued that the stop was unconstitutional because it was based on an erroneous license suspension. The panel analogized the license suspension information to information received from an unreliable informant, noting that "[a] license suspension, unlike a warrant or report of reasonable suspicion, is not a determination about the justification for a stop or arrest.
The license suspension is simply factual information that leads to a suspicion of a violation of the motor vehicle laws, i. Thus, the panel found that the stop was constitutional and that the good faith exception rejected in Novembrino was irrelevant. Most recently, in Handy, supra, this Court addressed a scenario in which officers arrested the defendant based on receipt of erroneous information from the dispatcher that the defendant had an out-standing warrant.
Incident to that arrest, the defendant was found to be in possession of drugs. The police dispatcher then informed the officer that there was a birth-date discrepancy between that provided by the defendant and that listed in the warrant. Upon return to headquarters, the officer learned that the warrant on which he had arrested the defendant was for a different individual, with a similar, but somewhat differently spelled, name.
The defendant nevertheless was charged with possession of the drugs. In assessing whether that evidence should be suppressed, this Court found that the "conduct by the dispatcher, an integral link in the law enforcement chain, was objectively unreasonable" and thus violative of the state and federal constitutions. In rendering its decision, the Court discussed the Supreme Court decisions in Evans and Herring, and found them inapplicable. The arguments before the Court call into question the significance of law enforcement reliance on an ostensibly valid arrest warrant in assessing the constitutionality of an arrest as well as the application of the exclusionary rule.
Beginning with the constitutionality of defendant's arrest, there is no dispute in this case that, at the moment of defendant's arrest, no valid warrant was in effect. Defendant's arrest was based solely on the existence of the allegedly outstanding arrest warrant that, in fact, had been vacated eighteen months earlier but had not been removed from the computer database accessed by the dispatcher. No other probable cause provides a leg on which the State can stand to assert a lawful arrest. See Brown, supra, N. To the extent that the State relies for its position on Diloreto and Pitcher, those decisions are inapposite, as the Appellate Division properly concluded.
In Diloreto, supra, the Court considered the officers' reliance on the misinformation contained in the NCIC database as one factor supporting their conduct under the community caretaker doctrine. Thus, the Court applied an exception to the general prohibition against warrantless searches. That decision cannot, and should not, be read to support the proposition that objective and reasonable reliance on information in the NCIC database, even if later determined to be erroneous, can support probable cause for an arrest.
In fact, the Court specifically highlighted the limited nature of its holding. In Pitcher, supra, the Appellate Division found that information in a motor vehicle database, even if later found to be erroneous, could be "one articulable fact" that can "lead to a suspicion of a violation of the motor vehicle laws" to substantiate a motor vehicle stop. The panel did not opine that reasonable reliance on that information could support probable cause to arrest. The same rationale applies to the Appellate Division decision in Green, supra, in which officers were in possession of a valid warrant for a person matching the defendant's description and were executing that warrant at the address listed for that person when the defendant fled and was arrested.
In allowing admission of the evidence seized following defendant's arrest, the panel relied on law enforcement's objective and reasonable execution of the valid warrant, id. See ibid. Our decision does not alter the standard of objective reasonableness applicable to the assessment of probable cause to arrest. See Basil, supra, N. Handy, supra, N. We conclude only that an invalid warrant cannot provide the basis for an objective and reasonable belief that probable cause to arrest exists; an arrest made under that standard is constitutionally defective.
To hold otherwise would be akin to adopting the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule that has been explicitly, and consistently, rejected by this Court, most recently in Adkins, supra, N. See also Moore, supra, N. We decline to carve out an exception to that explicit rejection in the manner requested by the State or the Attorney General.
In respect of the exclusionary rule, defendants are afforded greater rights under the New Jersey Constitution than under the United States Constitution. See Novembrino, supra, N. Thus, to follow their reasoning, as the State and the Attorney General advocate, would be a retrenchment of our decision in Novembrino. We can see it no other way. The Court in Novembrino based its decision on the conclusion that the exclusionary rule functioned not only as a deterrent for police misconduct but also as "the indispensable mechanism for vindicating the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches.
This case involves an unconstitutional seizure of a man who had secured relief eighteen months earlier from his out-standing arrest warrant. His constitutional right to be free of that unreasonable seizure trumps the subjective good faith reliance by the police on the unpurged, but in fact vacated, arrest warrant.
Novembrino 's important purpose to secure vindication of constitutional rights cannot be ignored. We decline to do so here. Moreover, the inevitable result will cause people to be more careful — a laudatory effect on all state actors. For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Division affirming the trial court's suppression order. The Court held in State v.
Reading Novembrino to require suppression for a purely judicial error, as the concurring opinion does, ignores the significant costs of suppressing competent evidence and renders the deterrent function of the exclusionary rule insignificant. In my view, the concurring opinion's conclusion cannot be reconciled with our subsequent decisions.
See, e. Shaw, N. Williams, N. Badessa, N. Smith, N. Evers, N. As recently as four years ago, this Court considered whether law enforcement personnel's conduct was objectively reasonable in a situation where a police officer, through carelessness on the part of the police dispatcher, arrested defendant pursuant to a validly issued warrant against another individual.
The Appellate Division applied a similar analysis in State v. The concurring opinion finds these cases inapposite because the warrants upon which those arrests were based were valid. However, while the arrest warrants in those cases were supported by probable cause, the arrests were not. The fact remains that, as here, the defendants in those cases were arrested unlawfully; there is no principled basis to distinguish between the unlawful arrests in Handy and Green, where the defendants were mistakenly arrested pursuant to valid arrest warrants issued against other individuals, and defendant's unlawful arrest pursuant to a once-validly issued arrest warrant that was, unbeknownst to law enforcement, subsequently vacated.
Moreover, because municipal court staff were entirely responsible for the error in this case, application of the exclusionary rule here improperly conflates law enforcement with the judiciary. The judiciary and law enforcement are separate and independent components of our criminal justice system, serving entirely different functions. Law enforcement, for its part, investigates criminal activity and secures incriminating evidence for use in obtaining convictions.
The judiciary, in turn, weighs the evidence presented, applies the relevant law to that evidence, and determines if there is sufficient probable cause to support a warrant. The judiciary also functions as a check against executive power exercised by law enforcement. Thus, absent some indicia of law enforcement involvement, suppressing evidence based on a purely judicial oversight improperly suggests that the judiciary is in collusion with law enforcement to obtain convictions, and therefore may be deterred from obtaining such evidence through unlawful means.
There is no dispute regarding the facts relevant to our analysis. Patrolman Steven Love arrested defendant in October pursuant to an arrest warrant, which was later determined to have been vacated in However, due to a clerical oversight by a municipal court administrator, the arrest warrant was not listed as vacated in the automated criminal system ACS — a statewide database that tracks, among other things, warrant history — for each criminal complaint.
It is undisputed that this process in no way involves law enforcement personnel. On rehearing, the motion court granted defendant's suppression motion based on testimony from the Asbury Park Municipal Court administrator, indicating that defendant's warrant had been vacated prior to his arrest and that defendant's arrest was therefore unlawful.
Relying on Novembrino, the Appellate Division affirmed, holding that regardless of who was responsible for the clerical error, "New Jersey jurisprudence does not permit the State to use the fruits of an illegal arrest against a defendant even if the police acted reasonably. As the concurring opinion notes, it is undisputed that the arrest warrant upon which defendant's arrest was based was invalid, notwithstanding Officer Love's reasonable understanding to the contrary. Therefore, the disagreement here does not turn on whether Officer Love had probable cause to arrest defendant or whether an exception to the warrant requirement applied, but on whether the appropriate remedy for the error leading to defendant's arrest is suppression.
The appropriate remedy for a police violation of a citizen's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures has long been the topic of debate.
Janis, U. In light of the dispute before this Court, a brief history of the exclusionary rule is instructive here. The development and history of the exclusionary rule illustrates its core purpose: deterrence of future unlawful police conduct. In doing so, the Court observed:. Thirty-five years later, the Court in Wolf v. Colorado, U. The Court, noting other remedies available to citizens for disruption caused by unlawful police intrusion, explained that it could not "brush aside the experience of States which deem the incidence of such conduct by the police too slight to call for a deterrent remedy not by way of disciplinary measures but by overriding the relevant rules of evidence.
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In the seminal case of Mapp v. Ohio, U. In disapproving of "the double standard" resulting from finding the exclusionary rule applicable to federal agents but not to state law enforcement, the Court explained:. Over the next twenty-three years, the United States Supreme Court decided a series of cases paring back the exclusionary rule where, in the Court's view, the deterrent effect did not outweigh the truth-finding function of the criminal justice system.
Havens, U. Then, in what this Court described as "the most significant limitation of the exclusionary rule since its genesis in Weeks, " Novembrino, supra, N. The Supreme Court in Leon, supra, applying "the balancing approach that has evolved during the years of experience with the rule," determined that "reliable physical evidence seized by officers reasonably relying on a warrant issued by a detached and neutral magistrate should be admissible in the prosecution's case in chief.
In denying the suppression motion, the District Court in that case found the affidavit in support of the search warrant on which the search of the defendant's home was based "insufficient to establish probable cause," but determined that there was no question the officer who procured the warrant "had acted in good faith. The Court determined that, on balance, "the marginal or nonexistent benefits produced by suppressing evidence obtained in objectively reasonable reliance on a subsequently invalidated search warrant cannot justify the substantial costs of exclusion.
Thus, while suppression remains the appropriate remedy where "the officers were dishonest or reckless in preparing their affidavit or could not have harbored an objectively reasonable belief in the existence of probable cause," id. The Supreme Court then provided four distinct rationales for finding a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. Additionally, "there exists no evidence suggesting that judges and magistrates are inclined to ignore or subvert the Fourth Amendment or that lawlessness among these actors requires application of the extreme sanction of exclusion.
Third, the Court could "discern no basis With some exception, in the fifty-four years since this Court first addressed the exclusionary rule in State v. Valentin, 36 N. Most relevant to the matter before us, a majority of the Court in Novembrino, supra, N. In Novembrino, a detective discovered evidence of drug trafficking following a search of the defendant's workplace.
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The detective conducted the search pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge, who had signed the warrant based on an affidavit prepared by the detective stating that the defendant was selling narcotics out of his gas station. The trial court suppressed the evidence, finding the affidavit "failed to establish probable cause. In affirming suppression, the Appellate Division rejected the State's contention that the good faith exception should be applied in this state, reasoning that the good faith exception "would undermine the constitutional requirement of probable cause. This Court granted the State's petition for certification, determined that the detective's affidavit failed to establish probable cause, and turned to the question of whether the good faith exception should apply in this State.
In rejecting the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule, the Novembrino majority began by noting that the Court "has frequently resorted to our own State Constitution in order to afford our citizens broader protection of certain personal rights than that afforded by analogous or identical provisions of the federal Constitution. Finding academic criticism of Leon persuasive, the majority stated:. The majority agreed with the dissenting Justice's observation "that the public will view the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule as a sensible accommodation between protecting an individual's constitutional rights and punishing the guilty.
Nevertheless, the majority determined that it could not countenance the "erosion of the probable-cause guarantee" enshrined in article I, paragraph 7 of our State Constitution, which it felt was likely to "be a corollary to the good-faith exception. Recently, in the context of a police officer's execution of an arrest warrant, this Court in Handy, supra, again considered the standard for suppression of evidence uncovered in the execution of a warrant.
Bruzzese, 94 N. Rodriguez, U. Thus, we observed, the "standard of objective reasonableness is the polestar for our inquiry. Applying that standard, we affirmed the Appellate Division's finding that a police dispatcher, who had erroneously informed the arresting officer that the defendant had an outstanding arrest warrant, acted unreasonably. The officer had arrested Handy in response to the police dispatcher's report that Handy had an outstanding arrest warrant, and, in a search incident to that arrest, found illegal drugs. The officer later learned that the warrant matched neither Handy's name nor his birthdate, but nevertheless charged Handy with drug offenses.
We held that "our own constitution requires suppression" because the police dispatcher, "an integral link in the law enforcement chain," had acted unreasonably "in failing to take further steps when she recognized that she did not have a match on the warrant check. Notably, the error in the execution of the arrest warrant was not due to inadequate or inaccurate information provided by the police officer. Hence, we looked to whether the police dispatcher's conduct was objectively reasonable under the circumstances rather than whether the officer relied upon the warrant in good faith.
The Appellate Division in Handy found its decision "fully consistent with [its] decision in State v. Similarly, in Green, supra, N. A warrant is merely an accusation of a criminal charge and all persons on this list are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. Misuse of warrant information may subject you to Civil or criminal liability. You should not attempt to physically apprehend any individual who may appear on this list. Warrants must be confirmed for validity by authorized law enforcement personnel and no action should be taken based solely on this website listing.
The information contained in the list is subject to frequent revision and as a result errors may occur.