On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 03-10-1095.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 20, 2010
Before Judges Carchman and Lihotz.
Defendant Joshua Lejune Moore was convicted following a jury trial for third-degree distribution of cocaine, a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3) (count one), and third-degree distribution of a CDS within 1000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (count two). After merger, the court sentenced defendant to a mandatory extended term of incarceration, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f), of eight years with a four-year period of parole ineligibility. Mandatory penalties and assessments were also imposed.
On appeal, defendant argues:
THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE DEFENDANT COMMITTED THE OFFENSES OF DISTRIBUTION OF A CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE AND DISTRIBUTION OF A CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE ON OR WITHIN 1000 FEET OF SCHOOL PROPERTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, THUS, THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE WAS EXCESSIVE.
We review the trial evidence supporting the jury's verdict. On April 16, 2003, Detectives Alvaro Goncalves and Ken Mikolajczyk were conducting an undercover street narcotics sales investigation on East Elizabeth Avenue in Linden. Goncalves and Mikolajczyk sat in an unmarked police vehicle parked approximately 100 to 150 feet across the street from a specific residence in the 200 block. Their view of the residence was unobstructed. Using binoculars, the detectives watched four individuals on the porch of the residence, two of whom, Ed English and defendant, they recognized.
A third undercover detective, Keith Johnson, drove up the street, parked his car, exited the vehicle and approached the four individuals on the porch. Johnson entered the building with defendant and English. In exchange for $50, Johnson was given two plastic bags marked with a seal of "the Animal." Lab tests of the contents confirmed the substance was cocaine. Johnson exited the residence and told Goncalves he had purchased CDS from the two. Johnson later identified two photographs of defendant and English as the individuals who sold him the CDS. Mikolajczyk also consistently testified to these facts, except he stated Johnson was shown several photographs to identify the suspects.
The defense presented the testimony of Chantell Thompson, who related she had dinner with defendant on April 16, 2003. The State attacked Thompson's credibility, including her inability to recall certain details, the fact that she did not come forward until a few months before ...