One More Supreme Court Grant of Review for 2021

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted leave to appeal in State v. Bullock. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Were the detectives required to advise defendant, who was not charged with any offenses at the time, why he was being questioned before proceeding with the custodial interrogation?” The Law Division in this murder case granted defendant’s motion to suppress statements he made to police, which he argued were taken in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and certain physical evidence taken after he signed forms consenting to a search.

In an unpublished per curiam opinion by a three-judge panel, the Appellate Division, on motion of the State for leave to appeal, affirmed in part and reversed in part. The panel agreed with defendant about the Miranda violation as to his statements, but departed from the Law Division’s ruling that excluded the physical evidence, finding valid consent. However, the Appellate Division remanded to the Law Division the question of whether the physical evidence should have been suppressed “as ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ derived from the illegal interrogation, or admitted into evidence despite the taint.” Having granted the State’s motion for leave to appeal, the Supreme Court will now address the issues.