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State v. Robinson

Decided: April 12, 1988.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JAMES L. ROBINSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County.

O'Brien, Havey and Stern. The opinion of the court was delivered by Stern, J.A.D.

Stern

Defendant was charged in an indictment, as amended, with armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and other crimes. Subsequently, he filed a "motion to suppress" evidence. The motion was considered at a pretrial evidentiary hearing. It concerned the admissibility of a remark defendant made to the police at the time they arrived at his home during the course of an investigation and a subsequent statement given at police headquarters.

After the court concluded that the remark and statement were admissible and denied the motion, defendant pled guilty to the armed robbery charge and was sentenced to an indeterminate term not to exceed ten years. Other counts of the amended indictment were dismissed, and defendant was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $491 and a $25 penalty for the benefit of the Violent Crimes Compensation Board at the rate of $5 per month.

On this appeal, defendant argues only that "(t)he incriminating statements obtained from the defendant should have been suppressed as the fruit of an illegal arrest" and "fruit of an illegal intrusion into the defendant's home." When the matter was submitted to us, we raised the issue concerning the appealability of the denial of the motion to suppress. We now hold that defendant's guilty plea constituted a waiver of his challenge to the admissibility of his statements. We therefore dismiss the appeal.

The only witness at the hearing was the arresting officer, Michael Zielenski, who testified that, as part of a police investigation concerning an armed robbery, he and his partner were directed to defendant. According to Zielenski, he asked defendant's mother "if her son was home and she said he was and she led us into his room. . . . He was awakened by us and he said, I know why you're here." The officer also testified that as a result of that remark, "[w]e advised him of his rights, verbally, at that time and he said, I know my rights. It's about the hold

up." Defendant was taken to police headquarters where he "was given [a] formal rights statement which he filled out, voluntarily. He did give us a statement concerning the hold up at that time." Officer Zielenski also testified that defendant was arrested at his house "[a]s soon as he told us that he knew why we were there."

At the hearing, defendant argued that there was no probable cause to enter his house or to arrest him and that, therefore, his statement was unlawfully obtained.*fn1 The court denied the motion, stating:

THE COURT: Well, it is not a search at all under any stretch of the imagination. It is an entry being made by the officer in the normal course of his investigation of a crime. So respectfully, I'm satisfied that the prosecutor has proven to this Court clearly, that there was probable cause to arrest him on the basis of the utterance and the investigation into the crime and that would follow, thereafter, in due candor from a defendant, I don't think there is any serious question about the statement itself given at the police station. He signed whatever form he had to, not once, but twice, and in effect, and gave a statement to the police which I find to be voluntary and there was no overriding of any right that he had under the circumstances.

Therefore, I am satisfied that the statement is admiss[i]ble and will be presented to the jury.

Generally, a guilty plea constitutes a waiver of all issues which were or could have been addressed by the trial judge before the guilty plea. See, e.g., State v. Truglia, 97 N.J. 513, 522-524 (1984); State v. Alevras, 213 N.J. Super. 331, 339-340 (App.Div.1986); State v. Rosenberg, 160 N.J. Super. 78, 80 (App.Div.1978), certif. den. 78 N.J. ...


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