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State v. Lassiter

February 14, 2002

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
NAIM LASSITER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 97-12-1330.

Before Judges Stern, Collester and Parker.

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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 25, 2001

Defendant was convicted of second-degree employing a juvenile to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-6 (count one);*fn1 third-degree distribution of cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and (b)(3) (count two); third-degree possession of cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count three), and third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and (b)(3) (count four). He was sentenced to seven years in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections with a five year period of parole ineligibility on count one, and to a four year concurrent term on count two. Counts three and four were merged into count two for sentencing purposes. The court also imposed an aggregate V.C.C.B. assessment of $100, S.N.S.F. assessment of $150, D.E.D.R. penalty of $3,000 and a lab fee of $100.*fn2

On this appeal defendant argues:

POINT I

THE DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL ON COUNT 1 SINCE THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THE AGE OF HASSAN ALI

POINT II

THE VERDICT IS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE ON COUNT 1 AS THE STATE FAILED TO SHOW THAT THE DEFENDANT USED A JUVENILE IN A DRUG DISTRIBUTION SCHEME EITHER AS A PRINCIPAL OR AS AN ACCOMPLICE

POINT III

THE DEFENDANT DID NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS DECISION NOT TO ACCEPT THE PLEA OFFERS MADE BY THE STATE

(Partially Raised Below)

We reverse the conviction for employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme (count one) and affirm the remaining convictions and merged sentence thereon.

I.

On August 6, 1997, at approximately 4:50 p.m., Detective Mark Casey of the Linden Police Department began "a surveillance of the intersection of Charles Street and Union Street" in Linden. Approximately ten minutes later, Casey observed a man he knew as Howard Timmons walking east on Union Street. Mr. Timmons approached the northwest corner of Union and Charles Streets and met with an individual, dressed in a black head rag, with an "E. Smith" Dallas Cowboy number 22 jersey, blue warm up pants with white stripes down the sides, holding a portable radio. This individual was later identified as Naim Lassiter, the defendant. The two engaged in a brief conversation, after which the defendant turned to ...


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