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Argued January 30, 2001

The principal issue in this appeal is whether exigent circumstances or some other exception to the warrant requirement justified the warrantless search of defendant’s electronic pager device. The trial court concluded that the police had been justified in retrieving the information from the pager as a search incident to defendant’s lawful arrest. The Appellate Division disagreed, finding that the search of the pager was not reasonably contemporaneous with the arrest. State v. DeLuca, 325 N.J. Super. 376, 388 (App. Div. 1999). The panel, however, sustained the search on an alternative basis proffered by the State. Given the possibility that the information stored in defendant’s pager could have been erased easily or deleted by additional incoming calls, the court concluded that the warrantless search was valid on the ground of exigent circumstances. Id. at 389-92.

We agree with the Appellate Division in respect of exigent circumstances. In view of that conclusion, we need not address whether the retrieval of information by the police also was valid as an incident to a lawful arrest. With that modification, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Division.

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