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Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

May 21, 2012

New Jersey Residents Do Not Give Up Their Expectation of Privacy When Hosting Large House Parties – Even When Violating Noise Ordinances

In New Jersey v. Kaltner, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a trial court correctly suppressed drug evidence found in a bedroom during a warrantless search of a residence by police officers who were responding to noise complaints. On October 22, 2009, housemates of defendant Derek J. Kaltner hosted a party in the home they rented in Long Branch, New Jersey. Five Long Branch police officers in plain clothes responded to the home after receiving noise complaints. The officers canvassed the house, looking for its residents. An officer peered into Kaltner’s bedroom and saw pills,...

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April 27, 2012

Third Circuit Rules that Federal Sentencing Enhancement for Possessing a Firearm While Committing A Felony Applies – Even When the Felony is the Burglary of the Same Firearm

In United States v. Keller, 666 F.3d 103 (3d Cir. 2011), the prosecution appealed a decision of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which found that a sentencing enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2K2.1(b)(6) did not apply to defendant's conduct. This enhancement increases a defendant's offense level by four points when he "used or possessed any firearm or ammunition in connection with another felony offense." In 2007, Defendant Jason Keller and two others burglarized a gun shop in Western Pennsylvania. Keller and his...

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April 18, 2012

5th Circuit Holds that a Defendant’s Confession to Harboring Illegal Aliens Can Be Suppressed Where ICE Agents Violated the Fourth Amendment

In United States v. Hernandez, 670 F.3d 616 (Ct. App. 5th 2012), The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found error in the denial of a Defendant’s motion to suppress her post-Miranda statements as fruit of the poisonous tree. The Court reversed the denial of defendant's suppression motion, vacated the conviction and sentence, and remanded. In Hernandez, law enforcement officers received an anonymous tip that ten to fifteen illegal aliens were being held against their will in Defendant Melinda Hernandez's trailer. The officers, including Immigration and Customs...

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April 17, 2012

Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches, Even For Minor Offenses

The Supreme Court of the United States recently held, in a 5-4 decision, that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, no matter how minor, before admitting them to jails - even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. In Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, Petitioner Albert W. Florence was arrested during a traffic stop by a New Jersey state trooper. The trooper checked a statewide computer database and found a bench warrant issued for petitioner's arrest after he failed to appear at a hearing to enforce a fine. Petitioner was...

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April 16, 2012

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rules That Second Amendment Protections Are Limited for Gun Owners Who Live With Convicted Felons

In United States v. Huet, No. 10-4729 (3d Cir. Jan 5, 2012), Police executed a valid search warrant of a home shared by Melissa Huet and Marvin Hall — Hall happened to be a convicted felon. In the course of the search, police found a firearm. The Government charged Hall with illegal possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), and charged Huet with aiding and abetting his possession, also under § 922(g). Huet filed a motion under Rule 12 (b)(3)(B) to dismiss the charge on grounds that the Indictment failed to...

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