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State v. Martin

Decided: December 24, 1987.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ALLEN MARTIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Monmouth County.

Furman, Brody and Scalera. The opinion of the court was delivered by Furman, P.J.A.D.

Furman

Defendant was convicted of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 24:21-19a(1), following a retraxit plea of guilty, and was sentenced to an eight-year term of imprisonment subject to a four-year term of parole ineligibility.

On appeal from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, R. 3:22, defendant raises two issues, the first statutory and the second constitutional:

Point I: Defendant-appellant's period of parole ineligibility is illegal because such terms are not statutorily authorized on sentences pursuant to New Jersey's Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

Point II: The Code provisions allowing the imposition of parole ineligibility terms on Title 24 offenses violate Article IV, Section VII, Paragraph 5 of the New Jersey Constitution. (Not raised below)

The issues raised by defendant will be nonrecurring. The Legislature has amended the Code of Criminal Justice (Code), N.J.S.A. 2C:1-1 et seq., by repealing and incorporating into the Code what had been the Controlled Dangerous Substances Act

(CDS), N.J.S.A. 24:21-1 et seq. Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1986, L. 1987, c. 106.

Both issues are rejected. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1b expressly provides that a sentence, such as defendant's, imposed for a violation of CDS "shall be governed" by Subtitle 3, Sentencing, of the Code, except as to degrees of crimes and "subject to the maximum sentence authorized for the . . . offense" under CDS. Defendant's custodial sentence of eight years did not exceed the twelve-year maximum term provided in CDS upon conviction for a violation of N.J.S.A. 24:21-19a(1). In imposing the parole disqualifier of one-half of that eight-year sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6b, the trial judge did not increase defendant's maximum sentence contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-1b; he applied another sentencing option authorized by the Code upon sentencing "for any crime," including CDS offenses.

As the Supreme Court held in State v. Sainz, 107 N.J. 283, 286-287 (1987) in applying the sentencing guidelines of N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 to CDS offenders:

The sentencing provisions of the Code of Criminal Justice (Code), N.J.S.A. 2C:1-1 to 98-4, are generally applicable to Controlled Dangerous Substances Act ...


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