Although an affidavit of a police officer familiar with the investigation is preferable, a hearsay certification from an assistant prosecutor may support probable cause to compel a defendant to submit to a buccal swab if it sets forth the basis for the prosecutor’s knowledge. Second, an affidavit or certification supporting probable cause to compel a buccal swab must establish a fair probability that defendant’s DNA will be found on the evidence. Here, the State failed to show probable cause.
Defendant was convicted of a third or subsequent offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI). The Municipal Court allowed him to serve the mandatory 180-day sentence under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(3) two days per week. The Law Division reversed.
The Appellate Division holds a third or subsequent DWI offender is ineligible for periodic service. Michael's Law amended the DWI statutes to require the 180-day sentence be spent in jail, excepting only up to ninety days spent in inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation, and to preclude other options. The amendment to N.J.S.A. 39:4-51 was intended only to bar work release for such offenders, not to lift the prohibition on their release before the jail term had been served. The specific law governing DWI sentences governs over the general provision for periodic service in N.J.S.A. 2B:12-22. The court disapproves State v. Grabowski, 388 N.J. Super. 431 (Law Div. 2006), which permitted such periodic service.
The Court reverses Alex’s delinquency adjudication on state-law grounds, concluding that the video-recorded statement did not possess a sufficient probability of trustworthiness to justify its introduction at trial under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(27). Striking the juvenile’s recorded statement from the record does not leave sufficient evidence in the record to support, on any rational basis, the adjudication of delinquency against Alex. Accordingly, the sexual assault charge must be dismissed. The Court concludes that the incompetency proviso of the present version of N.J.R.E. 803(c)(27) is flawed and remands that rule for review to the Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Evidence.
The court finds that the plain language of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b), the fourth-degree offense of driving while suspended, includes both driving while under the influence (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, and refusal to submit to breath testing (refusal), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a. They are predicate offenses even where the prior conviction history consists of one conviction under the separate sections of the Motor Vehicle Code. In other words, one DWI and one refusal suffice for the criminal offense of driving while suspended.
The panel erred in its application of the “plain feel” doctrine. Officer Laboy had witnessed “hundreds” of instances where defendants concealed contraband in the front of their pants and therefore immediately recognized the “rocklike” substance he felt to be similar to crack cocaine. Between the officer’s experience-derived identification of the substance and the presence of $2000 in cash, the “plain feel” exception -- which the Court adopts -- applied.