Warrants and Specificity of Locations: Part 2

by | Jan 30, 2018 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, New Jersey


The trial court subsequently issued a warrant to search Boone, his residence, and his car. Police executed the search warrant on September 7, 2012, and found between one-half and five ounces of cocaine and an illegal handgun in Unit 4A. They then arrested defendant. In February 2013, a grand jury charged Boone with seven counts of drug, weapons, and child endangerment offenses.


The child endangerment offenses likely came from having a child present in the home that contained narcotics and a firearm. The exact location of the child in relation to the narcotics or firearm is not something that the prosecution is required to disclose to the grand jury.


Boone sought to suppress the evidence found in Unit 4A because the search warrant lacked a factual basis to establish probable cause to search his apartment. The trial court denied the motion. Although the court acknowledged that police offered no support to justify a search of Unit 4A, it noted that Detective Conway provided extensive details of the police surveillance of Boone. The court found that defendant’s activity, coupled with the detective’s investigative experience and Boone’s criminal history, established probable cause to search Unit 4A. After the denial of his motion to suppress, Boone pled guilty to two second-degree drug offenses.


The Appellate Division affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress in an unpublished opinion. The panel held that the totality of the circumstances presented in the affidavit justified a finding of probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant. The panel found that the issuing judge had “ample grounds to anticipate” that narcotics would be in Boone’s apartment “given the furtive conduct of defendant the surveilling officers had observed and his two-recent apparent hand-to-hand drug transactions at another location.”


The Appellate panel appears to have missed the point. The issue was not the likelihood that Boone’s apartment would contain narcotics. The issue was whether the police had reason to believe that the apartment at issue was Boone’s.