Concerned about the possibility of domestic violence, the officers broke the chain lock on Fede's door and entered his apartment. The entry was uneventful, and after being instructed to move into the building's hallway, Fede stepped outside of his apartment and stood next to Zoklu as other officers searched the home. The search confirmed that defendant was alone in the apartment. The officers thereafter placed Fede under arrest for obstruction of the administration of the law under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1(a) for failing to remove the chain lock from his door.
Decision: The N.J.Supreme Court held that Refusal to let police into home is not criminal interference. The Court stressed that the police officers had the right to enter defendant's home under the emergency-aid doctrine, which permits warrantless entry under circumstances like those presented in this case. Because defendant's refusal to remove the door chain did not constitute an affirmative interference for purposes of obstructing justice within the meaning of the obstruction statute, the Court reverses the judgment of the Appellate Division and vacates defendant's conviction. (A-53-17)State v. Fede.
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