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State v. Kadonsky

October 27, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
STEVEN J. KADONSKY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Indictment Nos. 92-06-0210, 92-06-0228 and 94-06-0324.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued August 5, 2009

Before Judges Rodríguez and LeWinn.

Defendant Steven J. Kadonsky appeals from the denial of his second petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

In September 1993, on the day of trial, defendant entered a negotiated plea of guilty to: first-degree offense of being a leader or "kingpin" of a narcotics trafficking network, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3; two counts of second-degree conspiracy to possess marijuana, a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and -5b(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2; second-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(10); and fourth-degree possession of marijuana, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3).

There was an in camera hearing before Judge Michael R. Imbriani. The attorneys for defendant, his brother George Kadonsky and co-defendant Carolyn Czick were present. The then Somerset County Prosecutor, Nicholas Bissell, was also present and agreed that if defendant cooperated with law enforcement, the sentence recommendation would be reduced. The amount of the reduction would depend on the extent of defendant's cooperation.

Specifically, defendant was to provide information concerning the narcotics organization of co-defendant Howard Weinthal, which was believed to be a nationwide network. Defendant agreed that he would be given consideration on his sentence each time the Prosecutor's Office obtained information sufficient to obtain a warrant to search for and seize large quantities of marijuana or make arrests of individuals involved in narcotics trafficking. That same day, defendant and George Kadonsky entered pleas of guilty before Judge Imbriani, who accepted the pleas, but postponed defendant's sentence for several months.

During a six-month period, the State made several seizures of large quantities of marijuana based on tips and information given by defendant to the Prosecutor's Office. Weinthal's girlfriend, Kimberly Cruson, and three undocumented aliens from Mexico, were charged in connection with one of the seizures.

Linda Taylor and Joseph William were also arrested following an extensive investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor into defendant's cooperation.

Before the sentencing hearing, Assistant Prosecutor Head- Melitto wrote a letter to defendant's counsel, outlining defendant's cooperation, which led to nine seizures of 3,160 pounds of marijuana, $509,945 in cash, and the arrest of three individuals involved in the transportation of the marijuana.

The letter stated:

At the time of his plea on September 8, 1993[,] defendant agreed to the following cooperation for the listed sentence consideration:

Within 30 days 500-1,000 pounds No Credit of the plea of marijuana and thereafter:

1,000 pounds of 15 years marijuana with a 5 year stipulation

500 pounds of 10 years

marijuana with a 3

1/3 year

stipulation

500 pounds of 10 years

marijuana flat

500 pounds of 7 ...


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