Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Accident reports must now be provided by Police via written or fax request

Governor Corzine signed into law on January 26 a revision to NJSA 39:4-131 regarding providing accident reports. The new law requires police agencies to send accident reports through the mail or via fax upon request. The police may require as a condition that the person making the request complete a request form and pay the appropriately authorized fee set forth in the statute. If injured in a car accident, call Kenneth Vercammen. The text of the amended statute is as follows:

NJSA 39:4-131

The commission shall prepare and supply to police departments and other suitable agencies, forms for accident reports calling for sufficiently detailed information with reference to a motor vehicle accident, including the cause, the conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved, the compliance with P.L. 1984, c.179 (C.39:3-76.2e et seq.) by the operators and passengers of the vehicles involved in the accident, whether the operator of the vehicle was using a cellular telephone when the accident occurred, and such other information as the chief administrator may require.

Every law enforcement officer who investigates a vehicle accident of which report must be made as required in this Title, or who otherwise prepares a written report as a result of an accident or thereafter by interviewing the participants or witnesses, shall forward a written report of such accident to the commission, on forms furnished by it, within five days after his investigation of the accident.

Such written reports required to be forwarded by law enforcement officers and the information contained therein shall not be privileged or held confidential. Every citizen of this State shall have the right, during regular business hours and under supervision, to inspect and copy such reports and shall also have the right in person to purchase copies of the reports at the same fee established by section 6 of P.L. 2001, c.404 (C. 47:1A-5). If copies of reports are requested other than in person, an additional fee of up to $5.00 for the first three pages and $1.00 per page thereafter may be added to cover the administrative costs of the report. Upon request, a police department shall send an accident report to a person through the mail or via fax as defined in section 2 of P.L. 1976, c.23 (C.19:59-2). The police department may require the person requesting the report to provide a completed request form and the appropriate fee prior to faxing or mailing the report. The police department shall provide the person requesting the report with the option of submitting the form and providing the appropriate fee either in person, through the mail, or via fax as defined in section 2 of P.L. 1976, c.23 (C.19:59-2).

The provisions of any other law or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding, reports obtained pursuant to this act shall not be subject to confidentiality requirements except as provided by section 28 of P.L. 1960, c.52 (C. 2A: 84A-28).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Jersey DNA Database and Databank Act constitutional

State v. John O’Hagen (A-70-05) 1-24-07

The New Jersey DNA Database and Databank Act of N.J.S.A. 53:1-
20.17-20.28, as amended, does not violate the rights guaranteed
by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution and Article I, Paragraphs 1 and 7 of the New Jersey

1-24-07 A.A., by his parent and guardian B.A., v. Attorney
General of the State of New Jersey et als.(A-105-05)

DNA test results lawfully obtained pursuant to the New Jersey
DNA Database and Databank Act of 1994, N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.17-
20.28, as amended, may be used to solve crimes committed prior
to the taking of the DNA test.

1-18-07 State v. Vincent Dispoto (A-103-05)

Because there was insufficient evidence to support the issuance
of the underlying domestic violence search warrant, the criminal
search warrant was invalid as fruit of the poisonous tree.
While this holding renders moot the Appellate Division’s finding
that failure to re-administer Miranda warnings at the time of
arrest required suppression of Dispoto’s post-arrest
incriminating statements, the Court adds in respect of the issue
of the Miranda warnings only that no bright line or per se rule
governs whether re-administratiocustodial Miranda warning.

internet subscriber has an expectation of privacy

State of New Jersey v. Shirley Reid 01-22-07

The Appellate Division held that an internet subscriber has an expectation of
privacy in information on file with the internet provider
identifying her as the user associated with an anonymous "screen
name." Since the police obtained that identifying information
by means of an invalid subpoena, issued by a municipal court
administrator and returnable on the date of issuance, the order
suppressing the evidence obtained from the internet provider was

Sunday, January 21, 2007

No warrantless search of auto after occupants are out.

State v. Eckel 185 NJ 523 (2006).

A warrantless search of an automobile based not on probable cause but solely on the arrest of a person unable to endanger police or destroy evidence cannot be justified under any exception to the warrant requirement and is unreasonable. Once the occupant of a vehicle has been arrested, removed and secured elsewhere, the considerations informing the search incident to arrest exception are absent and the exception in inapplicable. If the occupant has been arrested but not removed and secured, the court will have to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the suspect was in a position to compromise police safety or evidence to justify resort to the search incident to arrest exception.
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030