The New Jersey Supreme Court dealt with two critical issues. Before a warrant was issued, the police arrested the defendant for suspicion of having committed attempted murder. Interrogating officers read him Miranda warnings but never advised the defendant as to why he was arrested. Later, during a Wade/Henderson hearing, the complainant testified about parts of the incident but claimed he could not remember the bulk of the shooting. Based on the complainant’s supposed lack of memory, the trial court declared him to be “unavailable” as a witness pursuant to N.J.R.E. 804(a)(2), thus permitting the State to present his testimony at the Wade/Henderson hearing as the prior testimony of an unavailable witness. The defendant was convicted and appealed. The Appellative Division held that the trial court violated the defendant’s Miranda rights and committed plain error when it admitted into evidence the defendant’s statement to the police. The Appellate Division reasoned that the interrogators were deceptive when they declined to inform the defendant of what he was detained for. The Supreme Court reversed and held that the interrogators were not required to inform the defendant of the possible charges because he had not yet been formally charged with anything. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling regarding the use of the prior testimony and held that the evidence did not violate the defendant’s confrontation rights.

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