Illegal police search yields suppression of gun evidence
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently suppressed handgun evidence that resulted from a warrantless search of a house following a report of domestic violence. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable police searches and seizures. The privacy interests of the home are entitled to the highest degree of respect under the law.
Here, police responded to a 9-1-1 report of possible domestic violence involving a gun at the home. Neither the 9-1-1- caller’s identity nor the information he provided were corroborated by the police upon arrival. The officers entered the home to check on the safety of a young boy and saw a man watching television in the living room. The police searched the living room area and found a .38 caliber revolver under a pillow.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the warrantless search was illegal and the handgun was suppressed. The police did not have probable cause to believe criminal activity was taking place in the home.