State v. Caronna


New Jersey


New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division

Citation and Year

469 N.J. Super. 462 (App. Div. 2021)

Constitutional Provision or State Statute

N.J. Const., art. 1, para. 7

Nature of Case

Police officers obtained a search warrant that required them to knock and announce their presence before entering the residence. But instead they entered the apartment, silently went upstairs to where Joelle Caronna was lying in her bedroom, and for the first time announced that they were law enforcement with a warrant to search the premises. No one disputed that the police acted unconstitutionally, but the parties disagreed on whether the resulting evidence should be suppressed.

Federal Fourth Amendment doctrine includes a vast number of exceptions, and the United States Supreme Court has said that evidence need not always be excluded when police violate a knock-and-announce warrant. The question was whether Article I, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution afforded greater protection against this kind of misconduct.


The exclusionary rule applies under Article I, Paragraph 7 when police violate a search warrant’s knock-and-announce requirement. No exception applies due to the flagrant conduct.


The court explained that the New Jersey Constitution offers broader protections than the Fourth Amendment, and acknowledged that their holding would be different under a Fourth Amendment analysis. But the court explained that the federal precedent that would govern the analysis “does not comport with our State Constitution” and declined to find an exception. Instead, the court applied its own search and seizure precedent under the New Jersey Constitution.