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State v. Bell

April 29, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANTHONY K. BELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment No. 05-08-1838.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 9, 2009

Before Judges Carchman and Simonelli.

Following an unsuccessful motion to suppress, defendant Anthony K. Bell pled guilty to second-degree possession of a handgun by persons not to possess a gun, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7. He was sentenced to a term of six years in prison with a five-year period of parole ineligibility.*fn1 On appeal, defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I

BECAUSE THIS STOP AND SEIZURE WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY A "REASONABLE AND ARTICULABLE" SUSPICION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, NO LESS PROBABLE CAUSE, THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE WAS ERRONEOUSLY DENIED. U.S. CONST. AMEND. IV, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947) ART. I, PAR. 7.

POINT II

IF THE DENIAL OF THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS IS REVERSED, THE PLEAS ON THE OTHER INDICTMENTS MUST BE VACATED.

We reject defendant's arguments and affirm. Because we affirm the denial of the motion to suppress, we need not address defendant's arguments regarding the other pleas and unrelated charges.

The facts are not in significant dispute. On July 20, 2005, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Officer Roderick Gaines of the Atlantic City Police Department was investigating an attempted burglary call in the area of the 500 block of N. South Carolina. At this time, Officer Gaines was approached by a New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) employee who indicated that he was painting the traffic control boxes in the area and witnessed two males involved in a verbal exchange, and one of the men fired shots at the other. The DOT worker advised the officer that the shooter took off on a bicycle heading south on Haddon Avenue, which is in the rear of the 500 block of N. South Carolina Avenue.

The witness was also able to provide a physical description of the shooter. According to the information Officer Gaines had radioed to police communications, the shooter was a black male, wearing a white tee shirt and blue jeans, and riding a blue bicycle. Officer Gaines estimated that no more than ten minutes had passed from the time shots were fired until the information was radioed to the police dispatcher.

Sergeant James Shellen was one of the officers on duty to receive the "shots fired" call over the radio. Sergeant Shellen related that he received a transmission that a DOT worker had witnessed a shooting, and the shooter was a black male on a blue bicycle wearing a white tee shirt and blue jeans. Sergeant Shellen responded to the area within three to five minutes.

Approximately five minutes into searching the area, Sergeant Shellen located defendant at Route 30 and Virginia Avenue, about two blocks south of the location where the shots were fired. The sergeant observed defendant on a bicycle wearing a white tee shirt and ...


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