On March 11, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the Hudson County case of State v. Adrian A. Vincenty. The principal issue was whether the defendant’s statements to detectives must be suppressed when the detectives failed to inform him that charges had been filed against him.
Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Fernandez-Vina held in relevant part: In State v. A.G.D., the Court held that “the government’s failure to inform a suspect that a criminal complaint or arrest warrant has been filed or issued deprives that person of information indispensable to a knowing and intelligent waiver of rights.” 178 N.J. 56, 68 (2003). Defendant Adrian Vincenty argues that two detectives failed to inform him of the criminal charges filed against him when they interrogated him and asked him to waive his right against self-incrimination. Relying on A.G.D., Vincenty filed a motion to suppress statements he made to the detectives. The Court considers that motion.
Detectives Thomas Glackin and Brian Mera questioned Vincenty about the attempted robbery and attempted murder of Jerry Castellano. Castellano was attacked by two men on March 20, 2011. One of the assailants wore a mask and dropped or threw it away after the attack. Castellano ultimately survived the attack. Police officers recovered the mask on the night in question. The mask was tested for DNA — and Vincenty’s DNA was found on it. The detectives also identified Vincenty from the video recording of the attack.
Detective Mera read Vincenty his rights — and Vincenty was given and read a form detailing his rights. At the bottom of the form, it read: “I acknowledge that I have been advised of the constitutional rights as stated above.” Vincenty signed the form.
A distinct issue that quoted language from the form raises is involves the distinction between the acknowledgement of rights and waiver of rights. This remains an undecided issue under the New Jersey Constitution. The combining of the concepts of acknowledgement and waiver dupes suspects into waiving their rights by confusing and intertwining the distinct concepts.