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State v. Smith

December 8, 1997

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BRIAN K. SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT, V. JAMES N. THOMPSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

Approved for Publication December 8, 1997.

Before Judges Havey, Newman and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Collester, J.s.c., (temporarily assigned)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Collester

The opinion of the court was delivered by

COLLESTER, J.S.C. (temporarily assigned)

In these appeals, consolidated for purposes of this opinion, defendants urge the following arguments on appeal:

I. The trial court erred in denying the motion for discovery under State v.

Kennedy.

II. The trial court erred in denying the defendants' motion to suppress physical evidence and statements.

III. The trial court should have enforced the original plea offer.

IV. The plea allocution provided insufficient notice as to the consequences of their pleas.

At 9:15 in the evening of January 14, 1994 Brian Smith and James Thompson, passenger and driver, were stopped on Interstate 95 for alleged motor vehicle violations by New Jersey State Trooper Brian Long, a seven and one half year veteran of the New Jersey State Police. A search of their motor vehicle resulted in their arrest and subsequent indictment for first degree possession of five ounces or more of cocaine with the intent to distribute and third degree possession of cocaine.

Pursuant to a plea agreement both men entered pleas of guilty to the first degree charge with a sentence recommendation by the prosecutor of ten years incarceration with three and one-third years of parole ineligibility. The prosecutor conditioned his joint plea offer on criminal histories disclosing no prior indictable convictions for either defendant, and the offer was withdrawn as to both defendants when it was discovered that Thompson had a prior Pennsylvania conviction for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

Defendants moved to suppress evidence of the search and alleged post-arrest statements. They also contended that the motor vehicle stop was selective enforcement based on race and out of state residence, and they sought discovery of numerous documents from the New Jersey State Police to support the claim. The motion court denied both the discovery request and the motion to suppress. Defendants entered into a new plea agreement and pled guilty to the first degree charge with the higher sentence recommendations by the prosecutor of eighteen years incarceration and six years of parole ineligibility for Thompson and fourteen years with a four year eight month parole ineligibility term for Smith. Prior to sentencing both defendants moved to withdraw their ...


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