New Change to Municipal Court Rule for Motions to Suppress

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The New Jersey Supreme Court adopted new changes to many of the court rules. Among these changes was an amendment to the rule governing Motions to Suppress Evidence in municipal court.

The amended rule is as follows:

7:5-2. Motion to Suppress Evidence

(a) Jurisdiction. The municipal court shall entertain motions to suppress evidence seized with a warrant issued by a municipal court judge or without a warrant in matters within its trial jurisdiction on notice to the prosecuting attorney and, if the county prosecutor is not the prosecuting attorney, also to the county prosecutor. [A motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a warrant and motions to suppress evidence seized without a warrant, but in]

In matters beyond the trial jurisdiction of municipal courts, and in matters where a search warrant was issued by a Superior Court judge, a motion to suppress evidence shall be made and heard in the Superior Court.

(b) Procedure. [Written briefs in support of and opposition to the motion to suppress shall be filed only in the discretion of the judge, who shall determine the briefing schedule, if briefs are permitted. All motions to suppress shall be heard before the start of the trial.] If the search was made with a warrant, a brief stating the facts and arguments in support of the motion shall be submitted with the notice of motion.

The State shall submit a brief stating the facts and arguments in support of the search, within a time as determined by the judge, but no less than 10 days after submission of the motion. If the search was made without a warrant, written briefs in support of and in opposition to the motion to suppress shall be filed either voluntarily or in the discretion of the judge, who shall determine the briefing schedule.

All motions to suppress shall be heard before the start of the trial. If the municipal court having jurisdiction over the motion to suppress evidence seized with a warrant has more than one municipal court judge, the motion shall be heard by a judge other than the judge who issued the warrant, such judge to be designated by the chief judge for that municipal court.

If the municipal court having jurisdiction of the motion to suppress evidence seized with a warrant has only one judge, who issued the warrant, the motion to suppress evidence shall be heard by the Municipal Court Presiding Judge for the vicinage, or such municipal court judge in the vicinage that the Assignment Judge shall designate.

(c) Order; Stay. . . . no change.

(d) Waiver. . . . no change.

(e) Effect of Irregularity in Warrant. In the absence of bad faith, no search or seizure made with a search warrant shall be deemed unlawful because of technical insufficiencies or irregularities in the warrant or in the papers or proceedings to obtain it, or in its execution.