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State v. Clark

April 14, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JON C. CLARK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Sussex County, No. 04-09-0287-I.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 24, 2009

Before Judges Wefing and Parker.

Defendant appeals from his conviction for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Defendant was charged under Indictment No. 04-09-0287 with one count of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, heroin, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1). He was also charged under a separate indictment with two counts of bail jumping, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-7. Finally, he was charged with driving while intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and also received several other motor vehicle summonses.

The only matter before us on appeal is his conviction for possession, which was the result of defendant pleading guilty after the trial court denied his motion to suppress. Defendant makes two contentions on appeal:

POINT I.

THE SEARCH OF DEFENDANT'S TRUCK WAS NOT SUBJECT TO ANY WARRANT EXCEPTION. CONSEQUENTLY, THE SEARCH OF THE TRUCK AND THE SEIZURE OF THE FOLD OF HEROIN VIOLATED DEFENDANT'S FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS AND THE EVIDENCE SEIZED MUST BE SUPPRESSED.

POINT II.

THE COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION [TO] WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA.

Defendant filed his motion to suppress and, in accordance with Rule 3:5-7(b), the State filed an opposing brief, which set forth its version of the applicable facts in the following manner:

At approximately 12:13 p.m. on January 11, 2004, Sparta Police Officer Jeffrey Mase was traveling southbound on Route 15. He observed what appeared to be a disabled vehicle on the shoulder underneath the Route 517 bypass. He saw two people sitting inside the cab of the pickup [] truck and a man outside of it near the passenger window. He turned around to assist and when he approached the vehicle, he saw the defendant trying to secure a piece of plastic over the passenger window.

The defendant approached the officer and in doing so he was shuffling his feet and staggering as he walked. He explained that the window had been broken last night in Elizabeth and he had stopped to re-secure it because it was ripping. His speech was slurred and he nervously rambled about why he went to Elizabeth to pick up his daughter who had a drug problem and needed to get away from the bad ...


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