The Police Accountability Project sent the following letter to the Phillipsburg (Warren County) Mayor and Council. My thought is that even though the Council may not really care if a drug arrestee's constitutional rights were violated by a local cop, the amount of money that the cop's mistake may have cost the taxpayers may impress them.
February 21, 2012
Hon. Harry L. Wyant, Mayor and members of the Phillipsburg Town Council
675 Corliss Avenue
Phillipsburg, NJ, 08865
Dear Mayor Wyant and Council members:
I'm not a resident, but ask that you please review today's Appellate Division decision in the case of State v. Kevin Davis. The decision is on-line here:
The thrust of the decision is that Phillipsburg Police Detective Douglas Baylor erroneously questioned a drug arrestee prior to reading that arrestee his Miranda rights. This caused Warren County Superior Court Judge John J. Coyle to suppress an incriminating statement made by the arrestee. The Warren County Prosecutor's office appealed Judge Coyle's decision to suppress and today the Appellate Division affirmed.
Nobody's perfect and I don't mean to pillory or embarrass Detective Baylor. However, the litigation that arose from his error has cost the taxpayers a great deal of money. And, since the defendant, Mr. Davis, was represented by a public defender, the taxpayers have funded both sides of the litigation that culminated in today's Appellate Division ruling.
I write to you because I suspect that cases where police make costly mistakes rarely, if ever, reach the Mayor and Council. My thought is that the Mayor and Council might recognize this as an opportunity to encourage all Phillipsburg police officers to attend some sort of training where defendants' constitutional rights generally and the Miranda decision in particular would be reviewed. I believe that everyone's interests would be served if steps were taken to minimize the chances of similar errors being made in the future by Phillipsburg officers.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Police Accountability Project