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State v. Wiley

August 9, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ELI WILEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Ind. No. 03-05-0578.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 15, 2007

Before Judges Graves and Lihotz.

Under Mercer County Indictment Number 03-05-0578, defendant Eli Wiley was charged with: two counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (counts one and three); two counts of third-degree theft by unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a (counts two and four); fourth-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4) (count five); second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (count six); two counts of third-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b (counts seven and ten); second-degree eluding police, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b (count eight); and fourth-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a(2) (count nine.

Defendant's motion to suppress his November 1, 2002 statement after arrest was denied. Thereafter, defendant entered a guilty plea to count one pursuant to a plea agreement in exchange for the State's sentence recommendation of an eight-year period of incarceration, as a second-degree offender, with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. The court sentenced defendant to seven years of incarceration with a NERA parole ineligibility period, along with applicable penalties and assessments.

On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments for our consideration:

THE TRIAL COURT MADE ERRONEOUS FACTUAL FINDINGS, DENIED DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS, AND DEEMED DEFENDANT'S INVOLUNTARY STATEMENTS TO BE ADMISSIBLE IN VIOLATION OF DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND THE PRIVILEGE AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION.

U.S. CONST., Amends. V, XIV; N.J. Const. (1947), ART. I, PAR. 1.

A. The Trial Court Made Erroneous Factual Findings and Accordingly Erred in Denying Defendant's Motion to Suppress.

B. The Trial Court Erred in Finding Defendant's Statement to Be Admissible.

We affirm. We state the facts as presented during the suppression hearing, which included the testimony of Detective Christopher Doyle and defendant.

In the course of investigating a robbery of Trenton Seafood and Grocery (TSG), also known as "Sunshine Market," Doyle received an anonymous telephone call from a male caller who identified himself as "The One." The store had been robbed of $150-$300*fn1 and two Verizon phone cards, by a single gunman wearing a hood on his head and a scarf over his face. The store owners could not identify the perpetrator. The caller stated that he knew Doyle had been at the TSG that morning investigating the robbery. The caller stated defendant was the perpetrator of the robbery. The caller also stated he had been with defendant that day and described the clothing defendant had been wearing. He also provided a physical description of defendant, which included that defendant wore a short "Afrohairstyle." The caller further asserted defendant had shown him a gun, which defendant threw in the trunk of a "red Chevy," a car he rented from a white woman named Wendy. Finally, the caller provided addresses where defendant could be found, including 196 Locust Street. The caller refused to meet with police, stating "if anybody sees me talking to the cops[,] I'm done."

Proceeding to 196 Locust Street, Doyle located an unoccupied red Chevrolet Lumina parked in front of the residence. After checking the registration, Doyle learned the car was registered to Wendy Sneddin of Ewing Township. Doyle and his partner, Detective Pollard, parked their unmarked police car and, using binoculars, watched the vehicle and the house. Defendant, whose clothing matched the description given by the ...


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