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State v. Lescota

August 7, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MATTHEW J. LESCOTA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Indictment No. 05-06-0484.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 30, 2008

Before Judges Lisa and Lihotz.

After his suppression motion was denied, defendant, Matthew J. Lescota, pled guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1), and fourth-degree hindering apprehension, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b. He was sentenced to three years probation with certain conditions, along with imposition of appropriate mandatory monetary assessments. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the suppression motion was properly denied. Defendant argues:

POINT I

THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES AS GUARANTEED BY THE FOURTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ART. I PAR. 1 OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION WAS VIOLATED (Not Raised Below)

A. THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE POLICE DETENTION OF THE DEFENDANT WAS LAWFUL.

1. THE COMMUNITY CARETAKING FUNCTION WAS INAPPLICABLE BECAUSE THE DEFENDANT DID NOT NEED POLICE ASSISTANCE.

2. THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE POLICE HAD REASONABLE SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THAT THE DEFENDANT COMMITTED A CRIME OR A MOTOR VEHICLE INFRACTION PRIOR TO HIS DETENTION.

B. THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE POLICE ACTED LAWFULLY IN SEARCHING THE CAR.

1. THE SEARCH OF THE VEHICLE CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED AS A SEARCH INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.

2. THE POLICE LACKED PROBABLE CAUSE TO SEARCH THE CAR.

3. THE STATE FAILED TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF ILLEGALITY BY PROVING THAT THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE WAS ...


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