Investigatory Detentions (Part 4)

by | Mar 25, 2019 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The New Jersey Supreme court continued in relevant part: There is no rigid time limitation on Terry stops. However, an investigatory detention may become too long if it involves a delay unnecessary to the legitimate investigation of the law enforcement officers. The reasonableness of a continued detention is determined through application of a two-pronged inquiry. First, the detention must have been reasonable at its inception. Second, the scope of the continued detention must be reasonably related to the justification for the initial interference. Thus, the detention must be reasonable both at its inception and throughout its entire execution. A seizure that is lawful at its inception can violate the Fourth Amendment if its manner of execution unreasonably infringes interests protected by the Constitution. Therefore, in assessing whether a detention is too long in duration to be justified as an investigative stop, it is appropriate to examine whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.

The exclusionary rule is a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard the right of the people to be to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. It has a two-fold purpose. One is to deter future unlawful police conduct by denying the prosecution the spoils of constitutional violations. The second purpose is to uphold judicial integrity by serving notice that our courts will not provide a forum for evidence procured by unconstitutional means. Because of the high price exacted by suppressing evidence, the exclusionary rule is applied to those circumstances where its remedial objectives can best be achieved.

This language about the “high price” of applying the exclusionary rule is usually cited as a basis to deny a suppression motion. That rationale ignores the “high price” paid by those whose fundamental rights are violated.