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State of New Jersey v. Abdullah Little

July 24, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ABDULLAH LITTLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 07-04-1332.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 16, 2012

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Ostrer.

Defendant appeals from the trial court's order denying his motion to suppress, his subsequent conviction by a jury of third-degree possession of cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1), and third-degree possession with the intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and -5b(3), and his sentence to an aggregate term of five years. We affirm.

Defendant presents the following points on appeal:

POINT I

THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS WAS ERRONEOUSLY DENIED BECAUSE THE POLICE OFFICERS LACKED REASONABLE SUSPICION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS LEADING TO APPELLANT'S UNLAWFUL ARREST.

POINT II DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL WAS WRONGFULLY DENIED.

POINT III DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION BY THE GROSS FAILURE OF THE STATE TO CONDUCT A COMPETENT INVESTIGATION, THE RESULTS OF WHICH COULD WELL HAVE VINDICATED APPELLANT.

POINT IV DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE WAS EXCESSIVE.

Having carefully reviewed the record in light of the applicable legal principles, we are unpersuaded by any of defendant's arguments.

Turning first to the motion to suppress, we do not determine the facts anew. State v. Heisler, 422 N.J. Super. 399, 412 (App. Div. 2011). We defer to the trial court's factual findings, unless they were "clearly mistaken" or "so wide of the mark" that the interests of justice require appellate intervention. State v. Elders, 192 N.J. 224, 245 (2007). However, we exercise plenary review of the trial court's application of the law to the facts. State v. Cryan, 320 N.J. Super. 325, 328 (App. Div. 1999).

Guided by those principles, we discern sufficient, credible evidence to support Judge Betty J. Lester's factual findings. Although Judge Lester noted a discrepancy between the police report and the testimony of the sole witness at the suppression hearing, Newark Police Office Orlando Andujar, an ...


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