On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Salem County.
J. H. Coleman and Baime. The opinion of the court was delivered by Baime, J.A.D.
This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court, Law Division, dismissing an indictment returned against defendant on the basis that the State failed to comply with the time constraints imposed by the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) (N.J.S.A. 2A:159A-1 et seq.). We reverse.
The salient facts can be stated briefly. On April 4, 1986, the Salem County grand jury returned a multi-count indictment charging defendant and Lori Vinciguerra with possession of at least one ounce of cocaine having 3.5 grams of pure free base (N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a(2)) and possession of the same substance in the same amount with the intent to distribute (N.J.S.A. 24:21-19a(1) and N.J.S.A. 24:21-19b(2)). At some point, notices were sent to defendant and his attorney, a member of the New
Hampshire bar, advising them that the trial was scheduled for July 21, 1986. In response, on July 14, 1986, defense counsel sent a letter to the Salem County Prosecutor advising him that defendant had been convicted of two crimes in New Hampshire since his arrest in New Jersey on the drug charges and that he was currently serving the sentences imposed upon him in those cases. The attorney noted that he had filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court challenging the validity of the New Hampshire convictions and that he would notify the prosecutor in the event bail were granted or defendant were otherwise released so that the matters pending in New Jersey could be concluded. Counsel suggested that a detainer be placed on defendant with the Rockingham County House of Corrections and that arrangements be made to have Stiles transported to New Jersey.
On July 15, 1987, following New Jersey's request for temporary custody of defendant, Joseph Wehrle, the Administrator of Offender Records in the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, met with Stiles and asked him to sign "form 2," a standardized document used by participating states. "Form 2" provides in pertinent part as follows:
You are hereby notified that the undersigned is now imprisoned in
and I hereby request that a final disposition be made of the following indictments, informations or complaints now pending against me:
Failure to take action in accordance with the Agreement on Detainers, to which your state is committed by law, will result in the invalidation of the indictments, informations or complaints. I hereby agree that this request will operate as a request for final disposition of all untried indictments, informations or complaints on the basis of which detainers have been lodged against me from your state. I also agree that this request shall be deemed to be my waiver of extradition with respect to any charge or proceeding ...