On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 04-05-0497.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Weissbard and Payne.
Defendant, Rashon Myers, appeals from his conviction entered upon a negotiated guilty plea to second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. Defendant's plea followed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence, which was preserved for appellate review pursuant to R. 3:5-7(d). In accordance with his plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to a five-year prison term with one year of parole ineligibility. Appropriate penalties and assessments were also imposed.
On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments for our consideration:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES TO SUPPORT THE WARRANTLESS ENTRY OF THE HOTEL ROOM PRIOR TO THE ARREST OF ITS OCCUPANTS.
EVEN IF THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES PERMITTED THE WARRANTLESS ENTRY FOR OFFICER SAFETY, THE RIGHT TO SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT EXPIRED THE MOMENT THE OCCUPANTS OF THE HOTEL ROOMS WERE ARRESTED IN THE HALLWAYS.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MERE FACT THAT THE ITEM SOUGHT WAS A WEAPON JUSTIFIED THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF THE VANITY IN THE BATHROOM.
The suppression hearing on March 18, 2005, produced a lengthy transcript that revealed the following facts.
On March 28, 2003, at approximately 4:00 a.m., two women flagged down an Elizabeth Police Department patrol car in the area of Flora Street at the intersection of Jackson Avenue. The women, Latisha Bolden and Shannon Smith, informed Police Officers Alvarez and Colon that they had just been the victims of a home invasion at 1251 Clinton Place, sometime between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
The officers escorted the two women to the scene of the alleged robbery and found the house empty. The officers took the women to police ...