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State ex rel L.Y.

September 22, 2010


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. FJ-13-1005-09.

Per curiam.



Submitted September 14, 2010

Before Judges Carchman and Graves.

Following unsuccessful motions to compel discovery and to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a "no-knock" search warrant, L.Y., a juvenile, entered a plea to an act of delinquency, which if committed by an adult, would constitute third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), crack cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). The juvenile was placed on a probationary term of one-year and assessed statutory fees and penalties. The juvenile now appeals from the orders denying the motions to suppress and for discovery. We affirm.

These are the relevant facts. At approximately 8:48 p.m. on January 21, 2008, Detective Scott Samis of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office obtained a no-knock search warrant. Judge Chaiet granted the no-knock warrant based on the affidavit prepared by Detective Samis, a member of the Prosecutor's Office Narcotic Strike Force. The target of the search warrant was a residence located in Asbury Park New Jersey.

Detective Samis' affidavit set forth an extensive recitation of facts in support of the warrant. First, on January 19, 2008, a confidential informant (CI) advised the Asbury Park Police that Rondell Coger was "selling handguns out of [Asbury Park]." Then the CI purchased an Intratech 9mm Automatic Pistol (Tech-9) from Coger*fn1 in Asbury Park during a controlled purchase. The Tech-9 had a defaced serial number.

The affidavit next related that on January 21, 2008, at approximately 6:02 a.m., Coger and Charles Mitchell were arrested by the Tinton Falls Police Department for assaulting each other at a hotel in Tinton Falls New Jersey. During a consent search of Mitchell's vehicle, the Tinton Falls Police discovered a handgun with a defaced serial number.

Mitchell cooperated with the Tinton Falls officers and advised that he had been purchasing narcotics from Coger for the past two weeks. He further stated that he drove Coger around the area while Coger made narcotic sales; in exchange for the transportation, Coger gave Mitchell crack cocaine. Mitchell also told police that on January 19, 2008, he drove Coger to Asbury Park to retrieve a handgun. When they arrived at the residence, Coger entered the building and returned to Mitchell's car with crack cocaine and the handgun police had just recovered from Mitchell's vehicle.

Later in the day, on January 21, 2008, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Detective Samis drove Mitchell to Asbury Park; Mitchell positively identified the subject residence as the location where he had driven Coger two days prior and where Coger had retrieved the handgun and crack cocaine.

Detective Samis also spoke with Coger on January 21, 2008; Coger confirmed that he was providing Mitchell with crack cocaine in exchange for his driving services. Additionally, Coger confirmed that Mitchell had driven him to Asbury Park on January 19, 2008, and that he spent time in Asbury Park because his cousins lived there. However, he denied knowledge that weapons or drugs were present at the residence and further denied living there. Coger could not provide Detective Samis with an address for his present residence and "hesitated numerous times when the address [in Asbury Park] was mentioned."

Detective Samis also received information from other members of the Asbury Park Street Crimes Unit that several potential CIs had provided weapons and/or narcotics intelligence about the residence in Asbury Park. Asbury Park Police Sergeant Jeffrey White stated that he had personally observed Coger depart from the residence in Asbury Park numerous times in a taxi, to return to the residence several hours later. After conducting a criminal history check, Detective Samis confirmed that Coger had six criminal convictions at the time, including several convictions for CDS.

At approximately 10:44 p.m. on January 21, 2008, Detective Samis and several other officers executed the no-knock search warrant at the Asbury Park address. The officers searched the residence and seized various items within the scope of the warrant, including green vegetation suspected to be marijuana, a rock-like substance suspected to be crack cocaine, ...

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