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State v. One House

December 31, 2001

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
ONE HOUSE, PERSONALTY AND REALTY KNOWN AS 232 MULLICA HILL ROAD, MULLICA HILL, HARRISON TOWNSHIP, GLOUCESTER COUNTY, NEW JERSEY A/K/A BLOCK 57, LOT 1.01 ON THE TOWNSHIP OF HARRISON TAX MAP, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, L- 655-97.

Before Judges King, Cuff and Winkelstein.

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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: December 12, 2001

The single and novel issue on this appeal is the partial in rem forfeiture order of a non-divisible asset ÄÄ a house and lot. Judge Tomasello ordered a forfeiture of $6000 representing the partial value of the house and lot. Defendant was caught growing marijuana plants in a closet and the attic of the house. The State appeals and urges that a complete forfeiture of the house and lot or of defendant's entire equity of $40,000 is required. We agree with the judge and affirm this partial and proportionate order of forfeiture.

I.

On March 17, 1997 Investigator William Donovan of the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office filed a complaint charging Frank Jones with alleged violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(C), possession of a controlled dangerous substance, marijuana, in an amount over fifty grams; N.J.S.A. 2C:35(a)(1)(b)(10), possession of a controlled dangerous substance, marijuana, with the intent to distribute; and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1)(b)(10), manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance, marijuana.

On April 3, 1997 the State filed a complaint for forfeiture of all property rights Frank Jones had in the 232 Mullica Hill Road, Mullica Hill, Harrison Township, Gloucester County property pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:64-1 to -9 generally and N.J.S.A. 2C:64- 1(2) specifically.*fn1

On June 15, 1999 the grand jury returned a three-count indictment alleging Jones violated (1) N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3), possession of marijuana, (2) N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(11), possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; and (3) N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35- 5(b)(11), manufacture of marijuana.

On April 13, 2000 Jones was found guilty by a jury of the manufacture of marijuana in a quantity of one ounce or more. The counts for possession and possession with intent to distribute were dismissed. On May 26, 2000 Jones was sentenced to two years probation and

defendant shall attend drug/alcohol seminar conducted by adult probation as recommended by Joseph Hale and/or participate in any other substance abuse evaluations and treatment as directed by Probation Officer. Defendant shall submit to random urine monitoring as directed by Probation Officer. $1000 DEDR, $50 Lab Fee, $50 VCCB, $75 SSNA, $30 LEOPA payable through probation at the rate of $50 per month beginning 6/8/00. Plus $25 per month probation supervision fee, six (6) months revocation of driver's license.

On October 12, 2000 the State moved for summary judgment. On November 27, 2000 Judge Tomasello granted the State's motion for summary judgment and awarded a partial judgment of $6,000 in lieu of a forfeiture of the entire property. The State appealed.

II.

In 1988 Frank Jones purchased the property for $45,000. The house is a single-story residence with a basement and an attic, roughly 3600 square feet, located on a 1.1 acre lot. Judge Tomasello determined that the size of each level is about thirty by forty feet or 1200 square feet. The property is valued for property tax purposes at $77,000. There is an ...


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