On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 222 N.J. Super. 626 (1988).
For affirmance and remandment -- Justices Clifford, Handler, Pollock, O'Hern, Garibaldi and Stein. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the Court was delivered by Pollock, J.
[116 NJ Page 295] The sole issue on this appeal is whether defendant provided an adequate basis for a plea of guilty of receiving stolen property in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. The Appellate Division found that the basis was inadequate. Consequently, it reversed defendant's conviction and remanded the matter to the Law Division. 222 N.J. Super. 626 (1988). One judge dissented,
and the State appealed as of right. R. 2:2-1. Although we disagree with the reasoning of the Appellate Division, we affirm the judgment of remand.
On December 9, 1985, defendant, who had been convicted for three prior criminal offenses, two of which were for the receipt of stolen automobiles, pled guilty to three more offenses involving the theft or burglary of automobiles. Because of his cooperation with the prosecution on other matters, defendant was placed on probation. The next day defendant was arrested for the subject offense of receiving a stolen automobile. Following his indictment, he pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement. Thereafter, in providing a factual basis for his plea, defendant described the events of December 10th:
THE DEFENDANT: I was walking down the street and my friend came around the corner. Keith Martin came around the corner in the car and he called me over there to him. So I came to the car. I was getting ready to enter the car. I put my hands on the car. As soon as I put my hands on the car, the cop told me freeze, so I ran.
THE COURT: Okay. Mr. Sypniewski [defendant's attorney] -- excuse me. Mr. McCoy, did you have any reason to believe that the car was or might be stolen?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I did.
THE COURT: Did you think the car was or was likely to be stolen?
THE COURT: He says he wasn't in the car.
[THE ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR]: Were you about to get into the ...