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State v. Williams

November 06, 2003

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANDRE WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. 00-10-1276.

Before Judges Stern, Lefelt and Payne.

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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 9, 2003

Defendant Andre Williams was convicted of third-degree possession of cocaine, following trial on third-degree charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cocaine), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a; possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and (3); and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it within 1,000 feet of a school, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7; and on a second-degree charge of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it within 500 feet of a public facility, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. He appeals from that conviction and from an extended term sentence imposed upon him of seven years.

On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT 1 THE CONVICTION MUST BE VACATED AS THE STATE DID NOT MEET ITS BURDEN OF ADVISING THE DEFENDANT OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PURSUANT TO MIRANDA v. ARIZONA.

POINT 2 THE CONVICTION MUST BE VACATED AS THE FAILURE TO PROPERLY ADMINISTER THE MANDATED MIRANDA RIGHTS WITHIN A CUSTODIAL SETTING DEPRIVED THE DEFENDANT OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND THEREFORE ALL STATEMENTS MADE IN VIOLATION OF THOSE RIGHTS SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUPPRESSED.

POINT 3 THE STATEMENTS MADE BY THE DEFENDANT WERE THE RESULT OF INTERROGATION AND NOT HAVING BEEN ADVISED OF HIS MIRANDA WARNINGS. THE COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THEY WOULD BE OTHERWISE ADMISSIBLE AT TRIAL.

POINT 4 THE CONVICTION MUST BE VACATED AS THE DRUGS CONFISCATED FROM THE DEFENDANT WERE'FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS TREE."

POINT 5 THE DEFENDANT WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL BECAUSE THE COURT INCORRECTLY RESPONDED TO THE JURY'S QUESTION RESULTING IN THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF THE ERRORS.

POINT 6 THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN IMPOSING A DISCRETIONARY EXTENDED TERM.

In a supplemental brief, defendant raises the following additional issue:

POINT 7 THE COURT ERRED IN NOT ORDERING THE STATE TO DISCLOSE THE IDENTITY OF THE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT.

Although Points One through Four of defendant's brief nominally raise issues of self-incrimination under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966), their principal thrust lies in a challenge to the trial court's determination, following a suppression hearing, to admit evidence consisting of the drugs seized in a search of defendant's person incident to booking. We address this issue first.

I.

Evidence at the suppression hearing established that, at approximately 10:00 p.m. on September 20, 2000, an unnamed confidential informant, seeking a favorable disposition of a pending municipal charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, approached Dunellen Police Sergeant Robert Guiliano and informed him that she could arrange a drug transaction with a man named Andre. In the three weeks prior to September 20, the informant had given unspecified information to the Dunellen police on seven to ten occasions that allegedly had led to the institution of investigations and to drug related arrests of other individuals by other law enforcement agencies. Approximately two weeks prior to September 20, the informant had approached the Dunellen police with the same information that she conveyed on September ...


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