A Jersey City man who posted pics of guns and marijuana on Facebook will soon be heading back to court after the appellate division has asked for the case to be heard again in light of an argument that says police unlawfully searched his basement.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Defendant contends that the police engaged in flagrant misconduct when they opened the
basement apartment’s door to confirm it was the apartment in defendant’s Facebook pictures,” Appellate Judges Douglas M. Fasciale and Gary S. Rothstadt wrote in their November 26th opinion for Randy Vidal’s appeal.
“He further argues that Sergeant [Thomas] McVicar engaged in flagrant misconduct when he made false statements in his search warrant application, specifically that officers did not execute the search warrant for apartment number two.”
While the appellate court felt that there was probable cause to open the apartment door, with a search warrant ultimately obtained, however, it remains unclear whether “flagrant police misconduct” was a factor when police initially approached the wrong apartment in the same building.
“Sergeant McVicar stated in his affidavit, and testified at the hearing, that he and other
officers did not search apartment number two once they realized it was not the
apartment in defendant’s Facebook pictures,” the ruling states.
“However, the judge found credible another witness who testified that officers searched apartment number two.”
The lower court will now decide whether or not the evidence against Vidal, the guns and the marijuana, should be suppressed.
“We leave the details of that argument—and the related consequences, such as the discovery of the gun and marijuana were likewise inevitable—to the discretion of the judge during the remand. Of course, the parties are free to make any contentions that are warranted on remand.”