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State v. Lao

September 24, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
IAN LAO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 06-11-1655.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Telephonically Argued September 4, 2008

Before Judges Messano and Chambers.

Following the trial judge's denial of his motion to suppress evidence, defendant Ian Lao pled guilty to count four of Middlesex County Indictment #06-11-01655 charging him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, and count seven charging him with possession of heroin with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. Pursuant to the plea agreement he struck with the State, defendant was sentenced to four years imprisonment, with an eighteen-month period of parole ineligibility.

Defendant's appeal is limited solely to the denial of his motion to suppress. In this regard, he raises the following arguments for our consideration:

THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS WAS IMPROPERLY DENIED, BECAUSE DEFENDANT'S VEHICLE WAS STOPPED WITHOUT REASONABLE SUSPICION.

A. EVEN IF DETECTIVE ABRAMS' TESTIMONY IS ACCEPTED, REASONABLE SUSPICION TO STOP THE CAR WAS NOT ESTABLISHED.

1. THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DETAIL TO ESTABLISH THAT THE KNOWLEDGE HAS BEEN DERIVED FROM A TRUSTWORTHY SOURCE.

2. THERE WAS NO CORROBORATION OF HARD TO KNOW PREDICTIONS.

B. THE TRIAL COURT ALSO ERRED IN FINDING THAT DETECTIVE ABRAMS WITNESSED A NARCOTICS TRANSACTION.

C. THE SUBSEQUENT SEARCHES WERE FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS TREE.

We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.

At the hearing on defendant's motion, the State called detective Jeffrey J. Abrams, Jr., of the Edison Township Police Department as its sole witness. After detailing his experience and training in the area of narcotics investigations, Abrams testified that his attention was first drawn to defendant by the receipt of "an anonymous letter . . . stating that [defendant] was distributing quantities of CDS from his residence and maybe possibly from his vehicle[.]" Abrams then "r[a]n [defendant's] ...


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