On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 05-03-0335.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Gilroy and Simonelli.
A jury convicted defendant Abu Q. Jackson of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cocaine), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). The trial judge sentenced defendant to three hundred and sixty-four days in the Union County jail and to a two-year probationary term. The judge also ordered defendant to complete drug and alcohol treatment, suspended defendant's driver's license for six months, and imposed the appropriate assessments, penalties and fees.
On appeal, defendant raises the following contentions:
Point I - Defendant was unreasonably detained and searched, tainting the subsequent search at police headquarters. U.S. Const. Amend IV; N.J. Const. Art 1, para. 7. (Raised Below).
Point II - The no-knock provision in the search warrant was plainly not warranted and the evidence against defendant should have been suppressed. R. 2:10-2. (Not Raised Below).
Point III - Defendant was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel through counsel's failure to challenge the no-knock provision in the search warrant. (Not Raised Below).
We reject these contentions and affirm.
Evidence from the suppression hearing revealed the following. On December 9, 2004, the Elizabeth Police Department obtained a search warrant for the person of James Richardson at an apartment in Elizabeth (the apartment). The scope of the warrant included "all common areas of ingress, egress, and access associated with the apartment[,]" and "all persons who may be present who are believed to be involved in the investigation." The warrant also authorized the police to enter the premises without first knocking and identifying themselves as police officers.
Rasheeda Richardson, James Richardson's sister and defendant's aunt, leased the apartment. On December 14, 2004, the police executed the warrant at the apartment. Prior to the arrival of the police, defendant, who was at the apartment, had allegedly gone to the back of the building to dispose of garbage. The wind closed the door, locking defendant out of the building. Defendant went to the front door and rang the doorbell. The police then arrived at the premises.
When he arrived at the premises, Detective Lawrence Smith of the Elizabeth Police Department saw defendant standing at the front door. Defendant told the detective that he did not live at the premises but was visiting his aunt and taking out her garbage. Defendant, who had no garbage in his hands, pointed to the apartment, indicating that it was his aunt's apartment. Smith entered the building and instructed defendant to come inside and sit on the floor in the hallway. Defendant was not placed under arrest.
Smith continued toward the apartment and searched it and the common areas. The search revealed sixty-six vials of cocaine hidden inside a door that opened into the common stairwell that Smith believed was accessible to all the inhabitants of the ...