December 23, 2023

CAMDEN – A federal judge has ruled in favor of two men who claim New Jersey State Police detectives violated their civil rights during an incident at an Atlantic City casino.

Lawrence Mills and Daniel Chun, both of Maryland, contended each was subject to an unlawful search and seizure after being arrested at the Golden Nugget in November 2017.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle granted summary judgment for Mills and Chun in a Dec. 20 ruling that focused on searches of the suspects.

The decision found the searches were unreasonable and that three troopers — Detective Sgts. Richard Wheeler, Carl Smallwood and Lance Moorhouse — were liable for violating the men’s rights under color of law.

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Bartle noted an earlier ruling had found the troopers lacked probable cause to arrest the Maryland men, making them liable for false arrest.

The former Trump Marina in Atlantic City is now the Golden Nugget.

“The searches of Mills and Chun incident to their unlawful arrests were therefore also violations of their Fourth Amendment rights,” the judge wrote in the Dec. 20 ruling.

The Aug. 8 ruling also found the troopers were liable for violating the men’s rights through the unlawful seizure of their property.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the decisions.

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