On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 09-11-1950.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 29, 2011
Before Judges Espinosa and Kennedy.
Defendant Valgson DeOlivera pled guilty to fourth-degree possession of a false government document, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(d), pursuant to a plea agreement after his motion to suppress evidence was denied. In this appeal from his conviction, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his suppression motion. We agree and reverse.
The pertinent testimony presented at the evidentiary hearing can be summarized as follows:
On September 22, 2009, Officer John Geesey of the South River Police Department was on patrol when he was flagged down by a passing motorist who advised him that "some type of fight or dispute was going on, in the area of 188 Prospect Street." Geesey advised headquarters and proceeded to that address.
Officer Kevin Nielsen, who testified as a defense witness, responded to the address and arrived before Geesey. He saw a man, later identified as defendant, standing on the sidewalk and asked him if he had seen any type of fight or anything in the area. The man replied, "no." Nielsen then spoke to a woman at the address but she knew nothing about a fight. He waited for Geesey to arrive. Sergeant Migut also responded to the address.
Geesey testified that when he arrived, Edvania Pimenta was crying and upset. She said, through a translator, that her housemate had attacked her and grabbed her neck. According to Geesey, the translator told him, "She said, she [sic] pushed through the door, accused her of dishonoring her husband, and grabbed her by the neck." Geesey observed marks around the front of Pimenta's neck and "like a scratch on her back." She provided a description of what the suspect was wearing, which Nielsen stated matched the male on the sidewalk he had spoken to earlier.
Geesey testified that they started checking the house for the suspect because it was unknown whether he was still there. However, Nielsen testified that he realized the man he spoke to on the sidewalk matched the description given by Pimenta. Nielsen asked Geesey if he had seen him and told Geesey "the individual was no longer in the area."
Pimenta and her attacker each rented bedrooms in the house. She first showed the officers her room, where the attack occurred, and then showed Geesey the room that belonged to her attacker. The door was unlocked. Geesey took a look inside.
It was apparent the suspect was not in the small bedroom. Although Geesey knew that the suspect had left the scene, he entered the room because he saw a man's billfold or ID holder on the dresser. He removed a social security card and driver's license from the ID holder and showed the photograph to Pimenta, asking if that was the individual who attacked her. Geesey then seized the driver's license and social security card and left the billfold behind.
Geesey returned to his patrol car and broadcast a description of the suspect to headquarters and everyone on patrol on the radio. He testified that the description he broadcast was based upon information he received "from the victim and/or others, or information gleaned from the identification" taken from the ID holder. In addition, he had a description of what the suspect was wearing. He testified further that the ...