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Sunday, September 13, 2015

DENISE BROWN VS. STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND JOHN STEET DETECTIVE (NJSP), ET AL. A-4796-12T3


 DENISE BROWN VS. STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND JOHN STEET
          DETECTIVE (NJSP), ET AL.
A-4796-12T3
This is a civil suit under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-2c, to redress injuries arising out of a warrantless entry State Police detectives made into plaintiff Denise Brown's home in order to "secure the apartment" while they sought a search warrant for the premises. A jury returned a verdict for defendants and the judge denied plaintiff's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV).
Brown appeals from the denial of her JNOV motion contending that she is entitled to judgment and an injunction "because it is indisputable the [State Police] seized and entered her residence absent a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances according to policy and training." The court affirms the denial of the motion as to the State, as well as the denial of an injunction because the State is immune from suit under the Civil Rights Act. The court reverses the denial of the motion as to the individually named detective and remands for a trial on damages because the troopers' testimony establishes, indisputably, that their entry into Brown's residence before securing the warrant was unlawful as a matter of law.