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State v. Williams

May 26, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
GARY WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment Nos. 03-03-0501 and 03-06-1048.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 8, 2010

Before Judges Rodríguez and Yannotti.

Defendant, Gary Williams, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), challenging his conviction and sentence with respect to two distinct criminal episodes. We affirm.

Indictment No. ATL-03-03-0501

In August 2004, following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of third degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3). The judge imposed a four-year term. On direct appeal, we affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence. State v. Gary Williams, No. A-784-04T4 (App. Div. July 24, 2006), certif. denied, 188 N.J. 492 (2006).

The facts are fully set forth in our earlier decision. The proofs showed that Atlantic City Police Detective Alexis Smith was working on a narcotics investigation in an undercover capacity. On January 23, 2003, she arranged to pick up Danielle Foster. Smith asked Foster to purchase cocaine for her. Foster agreed to do so but demanded $100 for the drugs, and $30 for herself.

Foster and Smith drove to the Flamingo Motel. There, Foster exited the car in order to meet her source. After a few minutes, Foster returned and said that Jakeem Bright did not have any more cocaine at that location. Smith and Foster drove to a different location and parked. Foster then got out of the car. When she returned to the car, she handed over to Smith a plastic bag containing a white rocky substance that tests proved to be cocaine. Foster was not placed under arrest at that time in order not to jeopardize Smith's undercover status.

Other units had placed the Flamingo Motel under surveillance. Detective Tom Gurcione videotaped events at the motel that morning. He testified that he saw Foster arrive and enter the motel. After a short time, she left with Jakeem Bright and a woman later identified as Nakia Shanks. Bright and Shanks got into a dark-colored Ford Explorer and drove away.

Detective Ronald DiGiovanni, who was in charge of this investigation, directed the police units to follow the Explorer. They did so and observed Bright meet with defendant, who was driving a black Lincoln. Bright and Shanks then drove to where Foster and Smith were waiting. Foster received the cocaine.

She then delivered the cocaine to Smith. The surveillance units attempted to follow defendant, but he took off at a high rate of speed.

Shanks and Bright testified at defendant's trial. She and Bright had been indicted along with defendant. Both entered negotiated guilty pleas. By the time of defendant's trial, Bright had served his sentence. Shanks entered a negotiated plea of guilty the day before defendant's trial.

Shanks testified for the State. She had driven Bright that morning to meet with defendant to buy the ...


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