This is my letter sent to a drug inmate today who is claiming that his suppression motion was improperly denied because the judge relied upon the credibility of a police officer who has since been charged with official misconduct.
April 12, 2014
Terrance D. Harris
Bayside State Prison
4293 Rt 47, P.O. Box F-1
Leesburg, NJ 08327
Dear Mr. Harris:
I write in my capacity of Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Police Accountability Project. Our mission is to hold police officers accountable for their misdeeds. I have posted the contents of this letter, along with documentary exhibits, to various blogs, e-mail lists and social media.
I write to ask that you please share with me the results of the remand hearing after that matter has been decided by the Atlantic County Superior Court.
For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with your matter, I will briefly summarize it below.
From reading the Appellate Division’s March 21, 2014 decision in your criminal case, I see that you are serving an eight-year sentence with a four-year period of parole ineligibility for “second-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.” According to your certification and brief filed with the Appellate Division (which I received by way of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, the substance at issue was cocaine which was found in your home while the police were executing a search warrant.
You made a motion to suppress the search on the grounds that the search warrant was issued after, rather than before, the search was conducted. The trial judge in Atlantic County denied your motion based in part on the credibility of Egg Harbor City Police Detective Steven W. Hadley who had testified at your suppression hearing.
While the appeal of the denial of your suppression motion was pending, Lynda Cohen wrote “Detective allegedly used job to get sex” in the September 26, 2013 Press of Atlantic City. That article reported that Detective Hadley was charged with four counts of official misconduct for allegedly using his official position as a police officer to have sex with four different women over a three year period.
Hadley’s arrest, you argued in your brief, ought to be considered by the Appellate Division as “new evidence” since it was unknown at the time of your suppression hearing. You further argued that Hadley’s arrest is relevant to your case given that the trial judge denied your suppression motion at least partly because of Hadley’s perceived credibility.
The Appellate Division refused to supplement the record to include Hadley’s arrest, but remanded the matter to the trial court, which will ultimately decide whether or not Hadley’s arrest will be admitted into evidence and whether the prior decision to deny your suppression motion should stand.
I’d like to follow this matter and blog the result. Would you please inform me of the results of your case and, if possible, the date, hour and location of the hearing at which this matter will be decided? If you have someone who is not incarcerated who can communicate on your behalf, please ask him or her to correspond with me at the e-mail address in the letterhead.
Very truly yours,
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party’s
Police Accountability Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ 08875