By way of a December 5, 2012 letter, Lieutenant Michael J. Emmons of the Neptune Township Police Department dismissed an internal affairs complaint against Neptune Police Officer Leslie Borges. The complaint, which was filed on October 16, 2012 by the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project, was based on an October 16, 2012 written decision issued Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.
In that case, the court suppressed evidence that Borges and other officers seized when they arrested a local man, James M. Height, for third-degree possession of Xanax. Regarding Borges' warrantless search of Height's apartment, the court held that “there was no objectively reasonable basis for [him] to enter the apartment under the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement.”
Yet, in his response to the Project's internal affairs Complaint, Lieutenant Emmons drew the opposite conclusion and stated that Borges and his fellow officers "were acting in good faith under the community caretaking doctrine in a very well documented, high crime, known drug distribution area."
Apparently, a police officer who lacks an "objectively reasonable" basis for conducting a warrantless search will not be disciplined provided that he was "acting in good faith" while conducting the illegal search.
The internal affairs complaint, dismissal letter and Appellate Division opinion are on-line here.
The New Jersey Libertarian Party has reported on Officer Borges before, when he allegedly observed, but did not intervene in, an alleged case of excessive force being used against a Brick Township man. Neptune Township ultimately paid a $65,000 settlement to settle that matter. Details and case documents are on-line here.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Police Accountability Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ 08875