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State v. Miranda

July 26, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
GEORGE MIRANDA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 06-04-0463.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: February 11, 2010

Before Judges Cuff and C.L. Miniman.

Defendant George Miranda appeals his conviction of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (Count One); third-degree distribution of CDS, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) (Count Two); third-degree distribution of CDS within 1000 feet of school property, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (Count Three); third-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) (Count Four); and third-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of school property, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (Count Five). Defendant also appeals the sentences imposed on Count Three*fn1 of an extended term of eight years with a four-year parole ineligibility term and on Count Five*fn2 of five years with a three-year parole ineligibility term to run concurrently with the sentence on Count Three. We now affirm.

We glean the following facts from the evidence presented at trial. On January 14, 2006, at 9:15 a.m. Detective Marvin Sykes of the Paterson Police Department conducted drug surveillance near the intersection of Madison and Oak Streets. This residential neighborhood contained a few businesses and was known as a high drug-trafficking area. This intersection was within 1000 feet of a school.

Sykes was a six-year veteran of the Paterson narcotics unit and had previously been involved in over a thousand narcotics arrests. Sykes parked his unmarked vehicle about three hundred feet from the intersection and had an unobstructed view of the intersection with his binoculars. Backup units were positioned outside the surveillance area to avoid being seen by lookouts or drug buyers who might recognize the undercover vehicles.

Sykes immediately saw two men conversing with each other on the corner near the curb. It was cloudy and drizzling. The man with an umbrella was defendant. The other man, who was wearing shorts and a winter coat, was defendant Orlando Cintron. A blue Plymouth Voyager minivan pulled up and stopped at the corner. Both defendants conversed with the occupants of the minivan through the passenger side window. Sykes could not hear what was said. Moments later, a male wearing a black jacket exited the minivan and approached both defendants.

Sykes testified that he then observed a drug transaction:

Q: Okay.... What happens when the buyer approaches the defendant and Orlando Cintron?

A: [Defendant] walks towards the corner with the umbrella....

Q: Corner of what?

A: Madison and ...


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