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State v. Johnson

Decided: February 25, 1970.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
THOMAS A. JOHNSON, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Goldmann, Lewis and Matthews. The opinion of the court was delivered by Goldmann, P.J.A.D.

Goldmann

The principal question raised on this appeal is whether a defendant convicted of violating the Uniform Narcotic Drug Law (N.J.S.A. 24:18-1 et seq.) may be punished as a second offender under N.J.S.A. 24:18-47(c)(2) when the second violation occurred, and the indictment based thereon was entered, prior to his first conviction under the act. We hold that he may not.

Defendant appeals through the Public Defender from a 5-6-year State Prison sentence imposed upon him as a second offender under N.J.S.A. 24:18-47(c)(2) after he had pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful possession of a narcotic drug (N.J.S.A. 24:18-4). Defendant had twice violated the Uniform Narcotic Drug Law. The first offense occurred in November 1966 and resulted in Essex County Indictment 1237-66, and the second in February 1967, resulting in Essex County Indictment 1319-66. He was tried on the former, found guilty, given a suspended 2-3-year sentence and put on probation for three years. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the latter indictment and received the sentence here under review. The following clarifies the chronology of events:

Indictment No. 1237-66 Indictment No. 1319-66

November 23, 1966 -- Violation

(possession of narcotic drug);

released on bail

February 13, 1967 -- Violation

(possession of narcotic drug)

March 9, 1967 -- Indicted

March 20, 1967 -- Pleaded

not guilty

March 21, 1967 -- Indicted

April 10, 1967 -- Pleaded

not guilty

April 13, 1967 -- Released

on own recognizance

May 22, 1967 -- Convicted

after jury trial

June 21, 1967 -- Sentenced to

serve from two to three years;

sentence suspended; put ...


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