On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 05-01-0007.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 15, 2011
Before Judges Graves and Messano.
Defendant Ernest Pannell was charged in a three-count indictment with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cocaine), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count one); third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and (b)(3) (count two); and third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within a school zone, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (count three). Following a jury trial, defendant was acquitted of count three but convicted of counts one and two.
At sentencing on August 15, 2005, the trial court granted the State's motion to impose an extended term of imprisonment under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f) because defendant was "a repeat drug offender." After merging count one with count two, the court sentenced defendant to an eight-year prison term with four years of parole ineligibility. Appropriate statutory penalties and assessments were also imposed.
On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:
DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS MUST BE REVERSED BECAUSE DETECTIVE BROWN OFFERED EXPERT OPINION TESTIMONY WITHOUT BEING QUALIFIED AS AN EXPERT; THE ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR IMPROPERLY RELIED UPON THIS "EXPERT" TESTIMONY IN SUMMATION; AND THE COURT FAILED TO GIVE ANY CAUTIONARY JURY INSTRUCTION ON THIS TESTIMONY. (Not Raised Below).
DETECTIVE BROWN'S TESTIMONY, WHEREIN HE INDICATED THAT HIS NARCOTICS ENFORCEMENT TACTICAL TEAM FOCUSED ON APPREHENDING INDIVIDUALS USING TAXICABS TO TRANSPORT ILLEGAL NARCOTICS, WAS TOTALLY IRRELEVANT AND HIGHLY PREJUDICIAL, SUCH THAT IT DENIED DEFENDANT HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below).
PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below).
We have considered these contentions in light of the record and applicable ...