Passaic County Judge Dismisses 2013 Passaic Murder Case
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced today that the Office has moved to dismiss the matter of State v. Rafael Camey.
The decision to dismiss the charges was made after consideration of the recent Superior Court Decision denying the state’s motion to compel a DNA buccal swab.
That motion was denied on December 10, 2019 by Judge Sohail Mohammed, J.S.C.
With all critical evidence suppressed, the State cannot sustain its burden of proof with respect to each element of each offense, thus a dismissal is required.
Officials say on September 30, 2013 the Passaic Police Department received a 9-1-1 report of a brutally beaten body of a woman located near a river bank behind Shoprite.
A friend of the victim last saw the victim and Mr. Camey together the night before the victim’s body was recovered. Mr. Camey consented to a buccal swab which was taken and forwarded for analysis.
The laboratory analysis found that Mr. Camey’s DNA was on the victim. Mr. Camey was subsequently charged with Murder, Aggravated Sexual Assault, and Felony Murder.
During preparation for trial, defense filed a motion to suppress the buccal swab of Mr. Camey provided to the police. Judge Marilyn C. Clark, P.J.Cr. initially heard the motion and suppressed the buccal swab, precluding the State’s use of the evidence at trial Judge Clark ruled that Mr. Camey’s constitutional rights were violated and therefore the evidence could not be used at trial.
This decision was appealed to the Appellate Division and Judge Clark’s decision was affirmed. Certification was sought and granted by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court affirmed the suppression of the buccal swab, however remanded back to the Superior Court a new application by the State to compel a new buccal swab.
This remand was heard by Judge Mohammed who denied the State’s motion based on the improper conduct of the police in obtaining the original sample.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office has aggressively pursued its legal right to appeal the decision of Judge Clark to suppress the evidence in this case.
”While we respectfully disagree with Judge Clark’s and Judge Mohammed’s decisions we of course respect the opinions and the process that produced those outcomes”.
In sum, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that, considering the totality of the circumstances, the dismissal of the charges is required.