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State v. McDonald

Decided: October 31, 1966.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHARLES J. MCDONALD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Gaulkin, Lewis and Labrecque. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lewis, J.A.D.

Lewis

Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction entered in the Passaic County Court following a jury verdict that he was guilty of possession and sale of narcotics in violation of R.S. 24:18-4.

The facts, as culled from the testimony presented by the prosecution, are that Joseph Ritucci, an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was introduced, either on June 30 or July 1, 1965, through an informer, to one Alexander Dakak and by him to defendant. He met them again on July 8, 1965 and on that occasion, after he had given

Dakak $12 for heroin, Dakak told defendant to tell Ritucci "where the stuff is." Ritucci testified that he

"* * * proceeded with McDonald approximately five, six, seven yards, and at that time McDonald stated to me: 'Stop. Look behind you to the telegraph pole,' and that, 'there will be a book of matches on the sidewalk with the heroin in it.' * * * Once I picked up the book of matches * * * I looked inside * * *. I observed two glassine envelopes containing a white powdered substance, I then put it in my pocket, and I returned to the Bureau of Narcotics."

A chemical analysis demonstrated the presence of heroin in the powder, and both Dakak and defendant were indicted. The former entered a plea of guilty and testified at the trial that defendant was his unwitting dupe and had no knowledge of the nature of his (Dakak's) dealings with Ritucci.

Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's case and now urges that its denial was error. We hold the motion was properly denied. The evidence at that time was such that the jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was guilty of possession and sale of narcotics. See State v. Reed, 34 N.J. 554, 564, 91 A.L.R. 2 d 797, 804 (1961); State v. Weissman, 73 N.J. Super. 274, 283, 93 A.L.R. 2 d 1001, 1007 (App. Div. 1962), certification denied 37 N.J. 521 (1962).

Defendant advances the argument that the State failed to sustain its burden of proving that the substance in the glassine envelopes was illegal, viz., that the powder contained a quantity of heroin sufficient to be of harm. We do not agree with that contention.

The proofs disclose that the glassine envelopes and their contents were delivered by the New Jersey State Police to one John Anderson, "a principal chemist" employed by that organization. He made chemical and physical tests of the white powder and found that the substance was "a combination of diacetel morphine, heroin and quinine."

R.S. 24:18-4 makes it unlawful for any person "to manufacture, possess, have under his control, sell, prescribe, administer, dispense or compound any narcotic drug,"

except as otherwise authorized by the statute. The act specifically exempts the possession or sale of medical preparations containing limited parts of six contraband drugs. N.J.S.A. 24:18-7. Prior to 1952, heroin was one of the enumerated exceptions, but in that year the Legislature omitted heroin from the list. L. 1952, c. 285, p. 971. Under these circumstances, we find particularly applicable the general rule of construction that "enumerated exceptions in a statute indicate a legislative intent that the statute be applied to all cases not specifically excepted." State v. Reed, supra, 34 N.J., at p. 558, 91 A.L.R. 2 d, at p. 801. Moreover, defendant ...


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