On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized a constitutional right for citizens to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense. The opinion invalidates the licensing regimes for carry permits in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia. Although New York and New Jersey each allow for licenses to carry, they were previously limited to those who could show some extraordinary need, and therefore not available to the average citizen. In New York Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held that such restrictions are unconstitutional and that law-abiding citizens have a right to carry a gun for self-defense purposes.
This means that, for the first time since the early and mid-20th century, respectively, residents of New York and New Jersey will be permitted to carry firearms in public.
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“(P)lain view” seizures were recognized by the United States Supreme Court in Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443 (1971). The doctrine is true to its name: it permits warrantless seizures of illegal contraband that is in the “plain view” of law enforcement. This is the law in New Jersey too. State v. Bruzzese, 94 N.J. 210 (1983).
There is common sense at work here. If law enforcement finds evidence out in the open, it would be unduly burdensome and illogical to require the State to leave the evidence in place while it secures a warrant to support the necessary seizure.
But this exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement requires a dash of kismet and a dollop of good luck: law enforcement must be in the right place, at the right time, to discover and seize the evidence. If they are not, then they cannot.
Yet, what if such a happy fortuity is more than luck, but is also the product of some prior planning or scheming? What if law enforcement’s actions are challenged as pre-textual? When and how is the subjective intent of the police to be considered in evaluating the validity of a “plain view” seizure? Continue reading “The Supreme Court of New Jersey Clarifies “Plain View” Seizures (Sort of): State v. Gonzales”
Eric Breslin, a partner with law firm Duane Morris LLP, has been appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee. Breslin, a litigator in the firm’s Newark office, will serve on the committee through August 2015.
The Criminal Practice Committee reviews cases and issues referred to it by the state Supreme Court and makes recommendations regarding revisions and amendments to the New Jersey Rules Governing Criminal Practice. The rules dictate practice and procedure in all criminal proceedings in the state’s courts, including the municipal courts.
Continue reading “Duane Morris Partner Eric Breslin Appointed to New Jersey Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee”