On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 06-07-1613.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued telephonically: January 11, 2011 -- Decided February 15, 2011
Before Judges Axelrad and J. N. Harris.
Pursuant to a plea arrangement, defendant Sharif Ali Bass pled guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A.
2C:11-4(a)(1) (Monmouth County indictment 06-07-1613),*fn1
and to second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, N.J.S.A.
2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (Monmouth County indictment 08-09-2136).
The State recommended an aggregate sentence of twenty-eight years
incarceration, subject to an eighty-five percent period of parole
ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A.
2C:43-7.2. The sentencing court imposed what the State
On appeal, Bass presents the following arguments relating to indictment 06-07-1613 only:
POINT I: THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH RESULTING IN THE RECOVERY OF DRUGS AND A WEAPON FROM 320 ASBURY AVENUE CONSTITUTED A VIOLATION OF THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO BE FREE OF UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, NECESSITATING SUPPRESSION AND REVERSAL. U.S. CONST., AMENDS. IV, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART. 1, PAR. 7.
POINT II: THE DEFENDANT'S PLEA OF GUILTY TO THE CHARGE OF AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER FAILED TO CONTAIN A SUFFICIENT FACTUAL BASIS AND MUST BE VACATED. (Not Raised Below).
We find these arguments unpersuasive and affirm.
In the indictment that is the subject of this appeal, Bass -- along with three other individuals -- was accused of planning and committing several crimes in Asbury Park, the most serious of which resulted in the homicide of Phonarith Chhieng, who was a victim of the co-defendants' premeditated robbery. Chhieng had been lured from a local bar to the vicinity of 316 Asbury Avenue where he was violently set upon, robbed, and ultimately killed by Bass's cohorts.
Detective Barry DuBrosky of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office testified at Bass's motion to suppress evidence seized at 320 Asbury Avenue. DuBrosky indicated that he was investigating Chhieng's homicide, and had determined to search two mostly vacant multi-unit buildings in the vicinity of where Chhieng's body was discovered. To that end, the owner of 316 and 320 Asbury Avenue was ascertained to be a business entity known as Asbury Partners, LLC (Asbury Partners).*fn3 A consent to search the vacant areas of both premises was obtained from William Covino, a person working at the business offices of Asbury Partners. Covino testified that his employer was MD Sass Municipal Finance Partners III, LLC, which was a "managing member of Asbury Partners, LLC." DuBrosky testified that he had initially expected Larry ...