On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Ind. No. 01-07-1296.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 30, 2007
Before Judges Payne, Graves and Lihotz.
Defendant John E. Thompson appeals from his conviction, in abstentia, after a jury trial for third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1), third-degree possession of CDS, with the intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1), and second-degree possession of CDS, with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public housing facility, park, or public building, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1.*fn1
The trial court granted the State's motion for an extended term, merged the first two convictions into the third, and sentenced defendant to a term of incarceration of fifteen years with a five-year parole ineligibility period. Applicable penalties and assessment were imposed.
On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments for our consideration:
THE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO GRANT DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR A SHORT ADJOURNMENT TO INVESTIGATE THE LOCATION OF A WITNESS WHO WAS SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY ON THE DEFENDANT'S BEHALF.
THE COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE STATE TO INTRODUCE TESTIMONY ABOUT THE SCALE THAT WAS FOUND IN THE KITCHEN THAT HAD BEEN PROVIDED ONLY ONE DAY PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEM[M]ENT OF THE TRIAL.
THE COURT COMMITTED REVERS[I]BLE ERROR IN ALLOWING THE STATE TO [EXERCISE] A PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE AFTER THE JURY HAD BEEN EMPANELED, SWORN AND AFTER OPENING STATEMENTS HAD BEGUN[.]
THE IMPROPER ADMISSION OF HEARSAY STATEMENTS FROM TAMIKA DANIELS CONCERNING THE SCALE AS PROOF OF DEFENDANT[']S OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION[,] VIOLATED HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND A FAIR TRIAL.
THE COUR[T] COMMITTED REVERS[I]BLE ERROR BY ALLOWING TESTIMONY THAT HINTED TO DISTRIBUTION BY THE DEFENDANT AS THE BASIS FOR THE SEARCH[.]
THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT THE VERDICT.
THE SENTENCE WAS MANIFESTLY ...