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State v. Lezan

October 5, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
STEPHEN T. LEZAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hunterdon County, Indictment No. 06-11-0426.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 21, 2009

Before Judges Rodriguez and Chambers.

Defendant Stephen T. Lezan appeals from the denial of his motion to suppress his statement, contending that the police failed to properly respond to his inquiry about the procedure to obtain a lawyer. Our review of the record indicates that the officer provided defendant with a reasonably accurate response to the question and that the inquiry was not an equivocal request for counsel. We affirm.

On June 27, 2006, defendant entered a neighbor's home, proceeded to the bedroom, and opened a dresser drawer; he was then confronted by the neighbor who held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. Defendant was arrested for burglary. The neighbor had previously found some money and guns missing from their home and suspected defendant in those thefts.

At the police station, defendant was given his Miranda*fn1 rights, and he signed a Miranda card waiving those rights. At the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office prior to questioning, a detective confirmed with defendant that defendant had been given his Miranda rights at the police station. The Miranda rights were then given to defendant again. The transcript of the statement at the Prosecutor's Office indicates that immediately following the administration of these rights, the following dialogue took place between defendant, the police officer, and the detective.

DS: Do you wish to ah, waive these rights and, and talk to us?

SL: Ye-yeah I guess so.

KB: Okay.

SL: Now it, how does it work if I wanted to have an attorney here?

KB: Okay. Well yah [sic] (you?) have to less [sic] (let?) us know is that you want to have an attorney present and we'll pretty much stop the questioning at that time.

SL: And oh, I mean, they won't come here now and . . . would they come here right now? Yeah, I mean like . . .

KB: No that would be set off to another time.

SL: Okay. (inaudible)

Defendant then proceeded to give the officer a statement admitting to taking some money and guns from the house on prior occasions. Defendant was thereafter indicted for two counts of second-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2; two counts of third-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2; and two counts of third-degree theft, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3.

At the plenary hearing on his motion to suppress the statement, defendant acknowledged his signature on the Miranda card. His understanding of the exchange with the detective was ...


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