NJ recognizes pretext, and the dispatcher’s wrong assumption that a bank robber was Black when race was never mentioned is attributable to the officer on the street making the stop. This mistake with “implicit bias” can be a basis for establishing a prima facie case of police discrimination under the burden-shifting paradigm adopted in State v. Segars (2002). Inevitable discovery is rejected in this case because it permits racial discrimination. State v. Scott, 2023 N.J. Super. LEXIS 7 (Jan. 31, 2023). Summary from the court:
Defendant contends he was subjected to discriminatory policing when he was stopped and frisked based on the be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) description of the person who committed an armed robbery in the vicinity minutes earlier. The BOLO alert described the robber as a Black male wearing a dark raincoat. However, the victim did not provide the race of the perpetrator when she reported the crime. The State acknowledges it does not know why the police dispatcher assumed the robber was Black.
The court addresses three issues of first impression. As a threshold matter, the court holds that decisions made and actions taken by a dispatcher can be attributed to police for purposes of determining whether a defendant has been subjected to unlawful discrimination in violation of Article I, Paragraphs 1 and 5 of the New Jersey Constitution.
Second, the court holds that “implicit bias” can be a basis for establishing a prima facie case of police discrimination under the burden-shifting paradigm adopted in State v. Segars, 172 N.J. 481 (2002). Reasoning that the problem of implicit bias in the context of policing is both real and intolerable, the court holds evidence that supports an inference of implicit bias shifts a burden of production to the State to provide a race-neutral explanation. The State’s inability to offer a race-neutral explanation for the dispatcher’s assumption that the robbery was committed by a Black man constitutes a failure to rebut the presumption of unlawful discrimination under Segars.
Third, the court addresses whether and in what circumstances the independent source and inevitable discovery exceptions to the exclusionary rule apply to the suppression remedy for a violation of Article I, Paragraphs 1 and 5. After balancing the cost of suppression against the need to deter discriminatory policing and uphold public confidence in the judiciary’s commitment to safeguard equal protection rights, the court concludes the independent source doctrine does not apply in these circumstances. That exception allows a reviewing court to redact unlawfully obtained information to determine whether the remaining information is sufficient to justify a search. The court concludes that any such redaction remedy would undermine the deterrence of discriminatory policing and send a message to the public that reviewing courts are permitted to essentially disregard an equal protection violation so long as police also relied on information that was lawfully disseminated. The court reasons that if simple redaction were permitted in these circumstances, the independent source exception might swallow the exclusionary rule.
With respect to the inevitable discovery doctrine, the court holds it may apply in racial discrimination cases only if the State establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the discriminatory conduct was not flagrant. Because the State concedes it does not know why the dispatcher assumed the robber was Black, it cannot meet that burden. The court, therefore, reverses the denial of defendant’s motion to suppress.
"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
“I am still learning.”
—Domenico Giuntalodi (but misattributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti (common phrase throughout 1500's)).
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers."
—Charles Dickens, “The Old Curiosity Shop ... With a Frontispiece. From a Painting by Geo. Cattermole, Etc.” 255 (1848)
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold,
J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence." —Mapp
v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
"Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment."
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
---Pepé Le Pew
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers,
is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which
reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that
those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being
judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting
v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)