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State v. Green

February 23, 1999

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JERRY GREEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Before Judges Havey, Skillman and P.g. Levy.

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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 4, 1999

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

The question presented by this appeal is whether evidence obtained as a result of the arrest of a person who the police reasonably but mistakenly believe to be the person named in an arrest warrant must be suppressed.

Defendant was indicted for possession of cocaine, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1), possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1), and possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property with the intent to distribute, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress the evidence against him. Defendant was subsequently tried before a jury, which found him guilty of possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute but acquitted him of possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property with the intent to distribute. The court granted the State's motion to sentence defendant to an extended term of imprisonment for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and imposed a ten year term of imprisonment, with five years parole ineligibility. The court also suspended defendant's motor vehicle license for six months and imposed the statutorily mandated fines, penalties and fees. The court merged defendant's conviction for possession of cocaine into his conviction for possession with the intent to distribute.

On appeal, defendant makes the following arguments:

"I. THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN FAILING TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE SEIZED BY THE POLICE."

"A. The police lacked reasonable suspicion."

"B. The police had no authority to enter a private house without a warrant."

" II. THE ABRUPT CHANGE IN THE SCHEDULED TRIAL DATE ON LESS THAN A WEEK'S NOTICE DENIED THE DEFENDANT A FAIR TRIAL."

" III. THE DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE IS EXCESSIVE AS A MATTER OF LAW."

We conclude that defendant's second and third points are without merit and do not require Discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We also conclude that defendant's arrest pursuant to an arrest warrant for another person who police investigators reasonably believed to be defendant and the seizure of the evidence obtained as a result of that arrest were valid. Accordingly, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence.

At the hearing on the motion to suppress, the State presented evidence that on April 3, 1995, two investigators from the Camden County Sheriff's Department were assigned to execute a fugitive arrest warrant for a person named Corey Lovett. The investigators had a card containing various identifying information about Lovett, which indicated that he was a six foot tall, 160 pound, twenty year old black man with a dark complexion who resided at 724 Tulip Street in the City of Camden. When the investigators arrived at this address, they saw a young black man whose appearance matched Lovett's description standing directly in front of the porch to the house. One of the investigators got out of the car and identified himself. At this point, the person who looked like Lovett ran into the house at 724 Tulip Street, locking two doors behind him. The investigator pursued the suspect into the house, kicked the locked doors open and chased him up a flight of stairs. When the ...


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