State v. Andrews, 081020 NJSC, A-72-18

Docket Nº:A-72-18
Opinion Judge:SOLOMON JUSTICE.
Party Name:State of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Robert Andrews, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Charles J. Sciarra argued the cause for appellant (Sciarra & Catrambone, attorneys; Charles J. Sciarra, of counsel, and Deborah Masker Edwards, on the briefs). Frank J. Ducoat, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Theodore N. Stephens, II, ...
Judge Panel:SOLOMON, J., writing for the Court. JUSTICE LaVECCHIA, dissenting, CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER and JUSTICES PATTERSON and FERNANDEZ-VINA join in JUSTICE SOLOMON's opinion. JUSTICE LaVECCHIA filed a dissent, in which JUSTICES ALBIN and TIMPONE join. CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER and JUSTICES PATTERSON and FERNAND...
Case Date:August 10, 2020
Court:Supreme Court of New Jersey

State of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

Robert Andrews, Defendant-Appellant.

No. A-72-18

Supreme Court of New Jersey

August 10, 2020

Argued January 21, 2020

On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 457 N.J.Super. 14 (App. Div. 2018).

Charles J. Sciarra argued the cause for appellant (Sciarra & Catrambone, attorneys; Charles J. Sciarra, of counsel, and Deborah Masker Edwards, on the briefs).

Frank J. Ducoat, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Theodore N. Stephens, II, Acting Essex County Prosecutor, attorney; Frank J. Ducoat, of counsel and on the briefs, and Caroline C. Galda, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, on the briefs).

Elizabeth C. Jarit, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for amicus curiae Public Defender of New Jersey (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney; Elizabeth C. Jarit, of counsel and on the brief).

Andrew Crocker (Electronic Frontier Foundation) of the California bar, admitted pro hac vice, argued the cause for amici curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union, and American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey Foundation, attorneys; Andrew Crocker, Jennifer Granick (American Civil Liberties Union Foundation) of the California bar, admitted pro hac vice, Alexander Shalom, and Jeanne LoCicero, on the brief).

Christopher J. Keating argued the cause for amicus curiae New Jersey State Bar Association (New Jersey State Bar Association, attorneys; Evelyn Padin, President, of counsel, and Christopher J. Keating, Richard F. Klineburger, Brandon D. Minde, and Matheu D. Nunn, on the brief).

Megan Iorio (Electronic Privacy Information Center) of the District of Columbia bar, admitted pro hac vice, argued the cause for amicus curiae Electronic Privacy Information Center (Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gillin-Schwartz and Electronic Privacy Information Center, attorneys; Megan Iorio, Alan Butler (Electronic Privacy Information Center) of the District of Columbia bar, admitted pro hac vice, Marc Rotenberg (Electronic Privacy Information Center) of the District of Columbia bar, admitted pro hac vice, and Frank L. Corrado, on the brief).

Matthew S. Adams argued the cause for amicus curiae Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (Fox Rothschild, attorneys; Matthew S. Adams, Jordan B. Kaplan, Marissa Koblitz Kingman, and Victoria Salami, on the brief).

Lila B. Leonard, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for amicus curiae Attorney General of New Jersey (Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General, attorney; Lila B. Leonard, of counsel and on the brief).

Gregory R. Mueller, First Assistant Sussex County Prosecutor, argued the cause for amicus curiae County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey (Francis A. Koch, Sussex County Prosecutor, President, attorney; Gregory R. Mueller, of counsel and on the brief).

SOLOMON, J., writing for the Court.

The Court considers whether a court order requiring a criminal defendant to disclose the passcodes to his passcode-protected cellphones violates the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution or New Jersey's common law or statutory protections against self-incrimination.

The target of a State narcotics investigation, Quincy Lowery, advised detectives that defendant Robert Andrews, a former Essex County Sheriff's Officer, had provided him with information about the investigation and advice to avoid criminal exposure. The State obtained an arrest warrant for defendant, who was later released, and search warrants for defendant's iPhones, which were seized.

Later that day, detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office interviewed Lowery, who detailed his relationship with Andrews. Lowery explained that they were members of the same motorcycle club and had known each other for about a year. During that time, Andrews registered a car and motorcycle in his name so that Lowery could use them. Lowery also told the detectives that he regularly communicated with Andrews using the FaceTime application on their cellphones. Lowery claimed that during one of those communications, Andrews told him to "get rid of" his cellphones because law enforcement officials were "doing wire taps" following the federal arrests of Crips gang members. Lowery relayed his suspicion that he was being followed by police officers to Andrews and texted him the license plate number of one of the vehicles Lowery believed was following him. According to Lowery, Andrews informed him that the license plate number belonged either to the Prosecutor's Office or the Sheriff's Department and advised him to put his car "on a lift to see if there is a [tracking] device under there." Lowery claimed that he also showed Andrews a picture of a man Lowery suspected was following him and that Andrews identified the individual as a member of the Prosecutor's Office. Lowery's cellphone records largely corroborated his allegations. Following their second interview with Lowery, the State obtained Communication Data Warrants for cellphone numbers belonging to Andrews and Lowery. The warrants revealed 114 cellphone calls and text messages between Lowery and Andrews over a six-week period. Andrews was indicted for official misconduct, hindering, and obstruction.

According to the State, its Telephone Intelligence Unit was unable to search Andrews's iPhones. A State detective contacted and conferred with the New York Police Department's Technical Services unit, as well as a technology company, both of which concluded that the cellphones' technology made them inaccessible to law enforcement agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory advised that it likewise would be unable to access the phones' contents. The State therefore moved to compel Andrews to disclose the passcodes to his two iPhones.

Andrews opposed the motion, claiming that compelled disclosure of his passcodes violates the protections against self-incrimination afforded by New Jersey's common law and statutes and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The trial court rejected Andrews's arguments but limited access to Andrews's cellphones "to that which is contained within (1) the 'Phone' icon and application on Andrews's two iPhones, and (2) the 'Messages' icon and/or text messaging applications used by Andrews during his communications with Lowery." The court also ordered that the search "be performed by the State, in camera, in the presence of Andrews's defense counsel and the [c]ourt," with the court "review[ing] the PIN or passcode prior to its disclosure to the State." The Appellate Division affirmed. 457 N.J.Super. 14, 18 (App. Div. 2018). The Court granted leave to appeal. 237 N.J. 572 (2019).

HELD: Neither federal nor state protections against compelled disclosure shield Andrews's passcodes.

1. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution require that search warrants be "supported by oath or affirmation" and describe with particularity the places subject to search and people or things subject to seizure. Andrews does not challenge the search warrants issued for his cellphones or the particularity with which the search warrants describe the "things subject to seizure." Thus, the State is permitted to access the phones' contents, as limited by the trial court's order, in the same way that the State may survey a home, vehicle, or other place that is the subject of a search warrant. Andrews objects here to the means by which the State seeks to effectuate the searches authorized by the lawfully issued search warrants -- compelled disclosure of his cellphones' passcodes -- which Andrews claims violate federal and state protections against compelled self-incrimination. (pp. 15-17)

2. The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination applies only when the accused is compelled to make a testimonial communication that is incriminating. Actions that do not require an individual to disclose any knowledge he might have or to speak his guilt are nontestimonial and therefore not protected. In contrast to physical communications, if an individual is compelled to disclose the contents of his own mind, such disclosure implicates the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. (pp. 17-20)

3. The Court reviews the origin and development of the foregone conclusion exception to the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in Fisher v. United States, 425 U.S. 391 (1976), United States v. Doe, 465 U.S. 605 (1984), and United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27 (2000). From those cases, which all addressed the compelled production of documents, the following principles can be inferred: For purposes of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, the act of production must be considered in its own right, separate from the documents sought. And even production that is of a testimonial nature can be compelled if the Government can demonstrate it already knows the information that act will reveal -- if, in other words, the existence of the requested documents, their authenticity, and the defendant's possession of and control over them -- are a foregone conclusion. (pp. 20-26)

4. Although the Supreme Court has considered the application of the foregone conclusion exception only in the context of document production, courts in other jurisdictions have grappled with the applicability of the exception beyond that context, and many have considered whether the...

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