In a ruling that seems to change each time a new court rules upon it, the New Jersey state Supreme Court has finally ruled that in the case of Antonie Watts, several bags of heroin that fell out of his pants after an initial police search can be used as evidence and should not be considered improperly seized.
The Case: In this case that has been fluctuating in courts since March of 2012; police had a warrant to break down the door of Watt’s Elizabeth apartment, but instead decided to stake out the unit and stopped him after he exited a liquor store nearby to the residency. They quickly patted him down to disarm and put him handcuffed in the unmarked police vehicle. They were planning to do a more extensive search when not in public view, but when they removed him from the vehicle found four small bags of heroin that had fallen out of his pant leg onto the ground.
After Watts was arrested, his defense attorney attempted to get the drug bags suppressed from evidence under the argument that since they had not been found in the initial look over, the police were unwarranted in their secondary search or detainment of him which resulted in the bags’ discovery. He was originally supported by a Superior Court trial judge, who said the drugs could not be used as evidence, but the office of the prosecutor then appealed, in June 2014 the state Appellate Court panel upheld the trial judge, were once again appealed by the prosecutor, and only now the state Supreme Court has ruled that the police were not acting unreasonably in their decision to detain Watts for further investigation. It will now go back to the Superior Court for a full trial and eventual sentencing, over three years after the initial crime and arrest took place.
If you believe you are in need of legal representation for drug-related
charges, it’s important to have an experienced defense attorney on your side. Call the law office of Leon Matchin today for all your legal assistance on drug charges. For a free phone consultation, contact my office at 732-662-7658 today to begin investigating and get you the help you need as soon as possible.