October 8, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT.
SHILOH SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment Nos. 05-07-0988 and 05-11-1489.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 23, 2008
Before Judges Skillman and Collester.
Defendant was charged in separate indictments with possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property with the intent to distribute on May 24, 2005 and October 16, 2005, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, and various other drug offenses based on that same conduct. Defendant filed motions to suppress in both cases, but subsequently withdrew the motion relating to the offenses committed on October 16, 2005. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the motion to suppress relating to the offenses committed on May 24, 2005. Defendant then entered into a plea agreement under which he agreed to plead guilty to the two school drug offenses, and the State agreed to dismiss the other charges and to recommend concurrent four-year sentences, with two years of parole ineligibility. The trial court sentenced defendant in accordance with this plea agreement.
On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:
POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE AS TO INDICTMENT NO. 05-07-00988 [based on the May 24, 2005 drug sales].
POINT II: THE SENTENCE WAS EXCESSIVE UNDER THE FACTS OF THESE CASES.
We have carefully considered those arguments and conclude that they are clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We only note with respect to defendant's first point that the arresting police officers did not obtain probable cause to stop defendant's car until they stopped the green pick-up truck and determined that one of the occupants possessed drugs and that a relatively short period of time elapsed between that stop and the stop of defendant's car and his arrest and the seizure of cash on the console. Under these circumstances, the police officers properly stopped defendant's car and arrested him without first obtaining a warrant.
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