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State of New Jersey v. Eric J. Caposele

June 8, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ERIC J. CAPOSELE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment Nos. 10-05-0844 and 10-05-0960.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 17, 2011

Before Judges Parrillo and Yannotti.

The State appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on December 10, 2010, ordering defendant's admission into Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). We reverse.

On July 8, 2009, an officer of the Seaside Park Police Department observed defendant operating a gold Jeep Cherokee without a seat belt. The officer stopped the vehicle and asked defendant to provide his driver's license, insurance card and vehicle registration. Defendant produced his license and registration but could not produce his insurance card. When defendant opened the center console of this vehicle, the officer observed a clear plastic bag containing psilocybin. Defendant handed the bag to the officer, and the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle.

The officer read defendant his Miranda*fn1 rights. Defendant then consented to a search of the vehicle. Defendant became increasingly nervous and kept walking away. He told the officer there was marijuana next to the console in the vehicle. Defendant signed the consent to search form and walked away back to the vehicle without the officer's permission. The officer grabbed defendant and defendant began to resist.

Defendant was secured, placed in the police vehicle and transported to police headquarters. The officer searched the vehicle and found a green substance, which he believed to be marijuana. The green substance and the psilocybin were transported to the Ocean County Sheriff's laboratory for analysis.

Defendant was charged with possession of psilocybin, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), and possession of marijuana, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Defendant also was charged with certain motor vehicle offenses. Bail was set at $15,000, without a ten percent option. See N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12. The defendant posted bail and was released.

About seven months later, on February 1, 2010, at around 3:30 a.m., officers from the Lavallette Police Department responded to Shaded Vision, a store on Grand Central Avenue, after receiving a report of burglary. The officers spoke to the owner, Tyler Mesanko (Mesanko), who indicated that sometime during the night, someone had broken into his store through a rear window. The officers noticed that the window had been broken and completely pulled out of its frame.

The officers also observed a pair of sunglasses lying in the broken glass outside of the window. They notified the Ocean County Sheriff's Department. Inside the store, the officers saw that the cash register and several display cases had been broken into and damaged. Mesanko reported that an entire stock of watches, several pairs of sunglasses, and approximately $200 in cash was missing.

The officers additionally observed footprints outside of the store in the snow. The footprints led from the window of the store to the rear of a nearby restaurant. One of the officers noticed that the restaurant had a security camera. The officers viewed the videotape and identified defendant as the person seen on the tape. They went to defendant's home and he agreed to come to police headquarters to be questioned.

Defendant was informed of his Miranda rights. Defendant then told the officers that he had been at a party and, around 3:00 a.m., walked on the beach. Defendant admitted breaking into the store and said that the items he had stolen were in his home. Defendant was transported to his home, where the officers recovered forty-eight watches, $204 in cash, twenty pairs of sunglasses, three shirts, two hats, ...


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