On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 07-02-0105.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 24, 2009
Before Judges Fuentes and Gilroy.
Defendant Ahmed Q. Carter was charged with third-degree possession of cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1); third-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(3); and third-degree possession with intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. He pled guilty to all of the charges without the benefit of a plea agreement and was sentenced to an extended term of seven years with forty-two months of parole ineligibility.
Defendant now appeals raising the following arguments:
THE COURT BELOW ERRONEOUSLY FOUND THAT THE CONDUCT OF THE DETECTIVE IN PRESSING THE PANIC BUTTON ON THE KEY PAD FOR THE CADILLAC WAS NOT A SEARCH ENTITLED TO THE PROTECTION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. FURTHERMORE, THE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT KENNEDY'S CONSENT TO SEARCH WAS FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY GIVEN. AS SUCH, THE DETECTIVE VIOLATED THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO BE FREE OF ILLEGAL SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. U.S. CONST. AMENDS. IV, XIV; N.J. CONST. ART I, PAR. 7.
B. THE ACTIVATION OF THE PANIC BUTTON TO LOCATE THE CAR WAS A SEARCH AND SEIZURE WHICH LACKED THE NECESSARY CORROBORATION.
C. KIMBERLY KENNEDY'S CONSENT TO SEARCH WAS NOT VOLUNTARILY OR FREELY GIVEN.
We reject these arguments and affirm. We gather the following facts from the evidence developed before the trial court.
On September 7, 2006, Detective Kevin McDonough, an eighteen-year veteran of the Elizabeth Police Department and member of the Narcotics Division, received a tip from an undisclosed informant about possible drug activity. McDonough had reason to trust the reliability of this information because this informant had previously given him information that lead to fifty narcotics arrests.
The informant "described a male that was down in the area of 310 Magnolia Avenue selling cocaine and [indicated] that the cocaine was stashed inside a gold Cadillac that was parked nearby." He described the alleged dealer as "a tall black male wearing ripped blue jeans and that he had a scar on his face." Based on his familiarity with this area and the ...