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State v. Goodson

November 09, 1998

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
A. MICHAEL GOODSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Before Judges Pressler, Brochin and Steinberg.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steinberg, J.A.D.

[9]    Argued: October 6, 1998

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

Appellant filed a pro se supplemental brief.

In this case we must consider whether the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as applied to the State through the Fourteenth Amendment, permits a blanket exception for drug crimes to the requirement that police officers knock-and-announce their identity and purpose before attempting forcible entry into a dwelling to conduct a search. We conclude that it does not. However, since this issue is raised for the first time on appeal, we remand to the Law Division for a hearing to determine whether, under the facts of this case, the unannounced entry by the police was reasonable and consequently sustainable.

Following a trial by jury, defendant A. Michael Goodson was found guilty of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count 1); third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, cocaine, with the intent to distribute in a quantity of less than one-half ounce, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and (b) (count 2); third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, cocaine, with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school being used for school purposes, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a) (count 3); and, while in the course of committing the crimes specified in counts 1 through 3, fourth-degree possessing or controlling a police radio capable of receiving any message or transmission made on or over any police communication system, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-22 (count 4). The trial Judge sat as a fact-finder regarding a related disorderly persons offense of possession of drug paraphernalia, N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2, and found defendant guilty of that charge.

The trial Judge merged counts 1 and 2 into count 3 and sentenced defendant on count 3 to five years of imprisonment with three years to be served without parole. The trial Judge also sentenced defendant to a concurrent term of eighteen months on count 4, and a concurrent term of six months in the Passaic County Jail on the disorderly persons complaint. The appropriate monetary penalties and driver's license revocation were also imposed. In addition, defendant was required to forfeit $311 that was confiscated at the time of his arrest.

In this appeal defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I THE SUPPORTING AFFIDAVIT WAS CRITICALLY DEFICIENT BECAUSE IT FURNISHED NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER AS TO WHEN THE INFORMANT ALLEGEDLY "WITNESSED" THE DRUG SALES.

POINTS II AND III THE SUPPORTING AFFIDAVIT DID NOT PROVIDE A SUBSTANTIAL BASIS TO CREDIT THE HEARSAY SET FORTH IN IT.

POINT IV THE TOTALITY OF THE FACTS PRODUCED BY THE CORROBORATIVE INVESTIGATION CANNOT CURE THE PATENT DEFICIENCIES IN THE INFORMANT'S REPORTED INFORMATION.

POINT V DETECTIVE HOWE'S SUPPORTING AFFIDAVIT WAS COMPLETELY DEFICIENT IN SUPPLYING THE MAGISTRATE WITH ANY PARTICULARIZED FACTS JUSTIFYING A NO KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT.

POINTS VI AND VII DESPITE DETECTIVE HOWE'S APPLICATION FOR A NO KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT TO ENTER MR. GOODSON'S APARTMENT, THE MAGISTRATE FAILED AND REFUSED TO ISSUE A NO KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT. THEREFORE, THE PATERSON POLICE OFFICERS WHO ENTERED MR. GOODSON'S APARTMENT WITH A HYDRAULIC DOOR OPENER ACTED UNREASONABLY AND IN VIOLATION OF MR. GOODSON'S RIGHT TO BE SECURE FROM AN UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE.

POINT VIII THE ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR'S EXHIBITION OF A "VISUAL AID" TO THE JURY, WITHOUT FIRST SHOWING IT TO DEFENSE COUNSEL CONSTITUTES WILLFUL MISCONDUCT AND RESULTED IN IRREPARABLE PREJUDICE TO THE DEFENDANT AND ...


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