On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 08-07-0967 and Accusation No. 09-05-0971.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 30, 2011
Before Judges Payne and Messano.
Following denial of his motion to suppress evidence, defendant, Dennis
E. Williams, pled guilty to count two of Indictment No. 08-07-0967
charging second-degree possession of
a weapon by a convicted felon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7b, and to count one of
Accusation No. 09-05-0971 charging the same type of crime occurring
somewhat less than one year later. He was sentenced to concurrent
terms of eight years in prison with five years of parole
ineligibility. Defendant has appealed, raising the following issues
for our consideration:
POINT I: THE MOTION COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE SEIZED IN THE DEFENDANT'S HOME AS IT CONSTITUTED AN UNREASONABLE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF HIS BEDROOM.
§A - The Search Exceeded the Scope of A Protective Sweep. §B - No Exigent Circumstances Existed. §C - The federal agents were acting as State law enforcement officers.
POINT II: THE COURT IMPOSED A SENTENCE WHICH DID NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ALL APPROPRIATE CODE SENTENCING GUIDELINES.
A suppression hearing was held in this matter, at which testimony was offered by Detective Scott Conover of the Jackson Township Police Department. He testified that, in March 2008, he was ordered by his superior, Lieutenant John Seidler, to assist Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent James Granozio in executing a federal search warrant authorizing the search of an entire residence located in Jackson Township for electronic and other evidence of child pornography. As Conover described his role, he "was merely to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation in any way they needed," acting as "a liaison between . . . the federal agency and the Jackson police."
In that capacity, Conover checked his department records to determine whether the police had a history of incidents at the residence, and learned by that means that, in 1994, there was a domestic incident involving defendant, at which time he was arrested for discharging an AK-47 at the house. Additionally, a large number of weapons, a large amount of ammunition and some explosive devices were seized at that time. Conover also checked Department of Motor Vehicle records, determining from them that defendant continued to reside at the location. He relayed this information to Special Agent Granozio who, as a result, delayed execution of the search warrant from March 27, 2008 to April 3 to permit additional agents to participate in the operation.
Conover was present when the search warrant was executed. He testified that entry was initially effected by an FBI S.W.A.T. team, which secured the residence. In the course of doing do, the team found a loaded Mauser nine-millimeter pistol on top of a laundry basket in the kitchen by the back door of the residence, but they did not seize the gun.
During the S.W.A.T. team's activities, Conover remained on the street and assisted defendant's mother, who became agitated, eventually had a cardiac event and was taken to the hospital. Thereafter, Conover "spoke" with Frank Williams, defendant's brother, who was found by the FBI to be in possession of two ounces of marijuana. The drugs were eventually seized ...