State v. Daniel Twian Brown, ? N.J. ?, 2011 N.J. LEXIS 81 (January 25, 2011) – Convictions and denial of suppression of statements affirmed.
“This case involves the validity of a warrantless arrest and its impact on defendant’s post-arrest statements to the police. The police relied on invalid arrest warrants when they set out to arrest defendant Daniel Brown, at his girlfriend’s apartment, for his role in a string of armed robberies and car thefts…. According to the record, Brown immediately fled to a public area when the police arrived at his girlfriend’s apartment. At that time, the police had sufficient probable cause to believe that he had committed a felony. They, therefore, did not need a warrant to arrest him in public. The police also had probable cause to arrest Brown for his conduct in resisting arrest, which they observed. As a result, the defective arrest warrants play no role in our analysis, and Brown’s post-arrest statements following his lawful arrest are admissible…. Brown claims that his flight was caused by the police’s illegal conduct and that they therefore still needed a warrant to arrest him. Based on the record, though, at the moment Brown fled, the police had engaged in no misconduct. They merely knocked on an apartment door and asked if Brown was present…. Thus, there was no seizure of any sort in the apartment. Beyond that, Brown’s flight created a new reality. By moving to a public place and creating a standoff there, Brown transformed the situation from an arrest in a third party’s private apartment, where police would need an arrest and search warrant, to the public arena, where the police could arrest him without a warrant based on probable cause that he had committed armed robbery…. In addition, Brown’s conduct in the presence of the police provided an alternative basis to arrest him. After jumping onto a roof, Brown created a twenty-minute standoff with the police in a public place, posing a risk to the officers and the public. Because Brown resisted arrest in that way, the police had the authority to arrest him without a warrant for resisting…. Because the police had probable cause to arrest Brown in public (1) for armed robbery committed outside their presence, and (2) for his behavior in resisting arrest, which they observed, they did not need an arrest warrant. As a result, the admittedly defective warrants the police possessed … do not affect the outcome here.”