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State v. Mallozzi

Decided: March 8, 1991.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOHN VICTOR MALLOZZI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Atlantic County.

Michels and Gruccio. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gruccio, J.A.D.

Gruccio

Defendant John Victor Mallozzi was indicted by the Atlantic County Grand Jury on October 8, 1987, and charged with armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one), and a variety of other charges.*fn1

On May 5, 1988, defendant was arrested in San Francisco on a fugitive warrant by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), handcuffed and transported to a local FBI office for processing. During the booking process, which included fingerprinting and photographing, FBI Special Agent Walter E. Lamar informed defendant of the pending charges in Atlantic County. Defendant made certain statements which were, in a sense, incriminating. Agent Lamar testified at a pretrial hearing that no Miranda*fn2 warnings are given to those apprehended on fugitive warrants because no interrogation or interview takes place and that the agent is not familiar enough with the

charges in a local matter to conduct an effective investigation interview. Defendant's motion to suppress the statements which he made at the booking procedure was denied.

Following the denial of his suppression motion, defendant entered into a plea bargain agreement which provided that in exchange for his plea of guilty to armed robbery, the remaining 11 charges would be dismissed and defendant's sentence would be in the discretion of the court. Judge Perskie, after carefully articulating his reasons for sentencing, including defendant's criminal history,*fn3 sentenced defendant to an 18-year term with an 8-year parole disqualifier and a $100 Violent Crimes Compensation Board penalty.

On appeal, defendant contends:

1. Where defendant was intentionally not advised of his rights pursuant to Miranda and the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution, incriminating statements made by defendant subsequent to his arrest should be inadmissible at trial.

2. Defendant's sentence was manifestly excessive.

Defendant posits that the main issue to be addressed revolves around his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966), and the extent to which defendant's rights may have been violated, including the FBI policy not to give Miranda warnings when apprehending a defendant on a fugitive warrant. The trial judge conducted a plenary hearing carefully addressing this issue, and also credited the testimony of Agent Lamar, the only witness who testified. No opposing testimony was produced.

Judge Perskie found that upon his arrest by Agent Lamar on a fugitive warrant, defendant was handcuffed and transported to police headquarters for ...


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