Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CLOSED: IA Complaint against Jersey City Police officers

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875

August 6, 2013

Lieutenant Mark Miller
Jersey City Police Department, IA Unit
1 Journal Square Plaza – 4th Floor
Jersey City, NJ  07306 
(Via Fax to 201-547-5512)

Dear Lieutenant Miller:

I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as our Internal Affairs complaint.  We would like your agency to investigate whether various Jersey City officers and other personnel employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding a search of an apartment on April 2, 2011.

According to Judge Joseph V. Isabella's July 24, 2012 opinion, which was affirmed by the Appellate Division decision in State v. Mitchell and Hoffman, Docket No. A-0224-12T2 (on-line here), the officers apparently searched an apartment before a search warrant was issued.
This caused the Judge Isabella to suppress the handgun and drugs found in the apartment because the warrantless search was unconstitutional.

If your officers, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding when and how to conduct warrantless searches elected to ignore their training, we ask that you discipline them. Otherwise, we ask that your department review and supplement your training requirements in this area of the law.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party
Police Accountability Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875-5424
Phone: 732-873-1251 - Fax: 908-325-0129
Email: paff@pobox.com

-- Subsequent Action

December 9, 2013 - Dismissed for lack of evidence (click here)

Training opportunity for police on warrantless searches

August 6, 2013

Lt. Fran Mozgai, Commander
Hillsborough Police Patrol Division
379 South Branch Rd
Hillsborough Township NJ, 08844
via e-mail to mozgaif@hillsboroughpolice.org 

Dear Lieutenant Mozgai:

Please review today's Appellate Division decision, which is on-line here.

It involved a Hillsborough Police warrantless entry into a home under the "community caretaking function" which ended up in marijuana being located and a woman being arrested and convicted for possession with intent to distribute.  The conviction was reversed because a NJ Supreme Court decision, which was issued after the conviction of the Hillsborough woman who was arrested, clarified the standard that police have to follow before making a warrantless entry into a home.

I don't think that the Hillsborough officers can be faulted given that the law wasn't clear at the time of their actions.  I do think, however, that this court decision provides an important and relevant training opportunity for your Division.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

John Paff,Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Police Accountability Project

cc. Police Chief Kaminsky
via e-mail to chiefkaminsky@hillsboroughpolice.org

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lavallette Police disciplinary appeal scheduled for 08/06/13 settlement conference

On August 6, 2013, an Administrative Law Judge will conduct a confidential settlement conference regarding a police discipline matter captioned In the Matter of Jon Andrews, OAL Docket No. 08542-2013 or Civil Service 2013-3466). 

Andrews, a Lavallette Police sergeant has appealed a 20 day suspension for "conduct unbecoming a public employee" and "other sufficient cause" that was imposed by way of a Final Notice of Disciplinary Action issued on May 31, 2013.  According to the police, Andrews was "suspended without pay" by way of a written notice issued by Police Chief Colin Grant on August 22, 2012.  The notice accused Andrews of being "involved in sending and receiving text messages and pictures of a lewd, lascivious and/or inappropriate nature during working hours to a fellow member of the Lavallette Police Department with remarks as to another Department member."  He was also charged with claiming three hours of overtime for attending a court session that he did not in fact attend.

Despite the "without pay" provision of Chief Grant's notice, the Borough Council, at a September 5, 2012 special meeting, "voted to extend the paid medical leave of Sgt. John Andrews until a disciplinary hearing can be held by the police department." (See, Ocean Star, September 7, 2012 "Council Votes to Extend Officer's Paid Medical Leave.")

Andrews' appeal and Grant's August 22, 2012 notice are on-line here.  Andrews is being represented by Anthony Pope, Esq. of Newark.  The Borough is being represented by Eric Bernstein, Esq. of Warren.