On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 09-04-1165.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 7, 2012 -
Before Judges Reisner and Hayden.
Following the denial of his motion to suppress the heroin, weapons and other evidence seized from his home and to reveal the identity of a confidential informant and surveillance locations, defendant Val Cherestal pled guilty to second-degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, third-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, and two counts of second-degree possession of a firearm without a permit, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b. He received an aggregate custodial sentence of eight years with a four-year period of parole ineligibility. He appeals from the denial of his motion to suppress and raises the following points for our consideration:
POINT I: BECAUSE HE HAS RAISED AN ISSUE [OF] MATERIAL FACT AND ALSO MADE A SHOWING OF DELIBERATE FALSEHOOD, DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED.
POINT II: THE STATE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE THE IDENTITY OF THE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT AND ALSO REVEAL THE SURVEILLANCE LOCATIONS.
For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
The record reveals that during the week of November 1, 2008, a confidential informant (CI) told Detective Brian T. Mooney of the Orange Police Department that two individuals he referred to as "Sha" and "Jean" were distributing large quantities of narcotics out of a grey Cadillac Deville and from a certain Park Avenue address. The CI also provided Mooney with the registration number of the vehicle and a detailed description of both men. The CI had previously assisted the police, and Mooney considered him reliable.
Mooney's subsequent investigation of the registration information revealed that the vehicle was a grey Cadillac Deville registered to defendant, who resided at the Park Avenue address as the CI reported. Mooney also searched defendant's criminal history and found that he had been arrested previously with a man named Jean Pierre, who lived at the same Park Avenue address. The detective acquired photographs of the two men and showed them to the CI, who confirmed they were the individuals selling drugs from the Cadillac.
During the week of November 10, the CI agreed to participate in a controlled heroin buy from defendant at a specified meeting point. The police set up surveillance outside of defendant's apartment and at another location where they could view defendant's car. They dropped the CI off near the meeting point. They observed defendant leave his apartment and walk to his car shortly before the designated meeting time. He drove to the pre-arranged location, and the police watched the CI enter the Cadillac. From the time the police dropped the CI off until the time he returned to the detectives, he was under their observation. Defendant, too, was under constant surveillance, and the detectives watched him leave after the transaction and return to his apartment. After the meeting, the CI turned over the purchased product, which a field test confirmed was heroin. Mooney and the CI arranged another controlled buy for November 16, 2008, which occurred exactly as the previous one had. Again, a field test confirmed the purchased substance was heroin.
On November 20, 2008, a Superior Court judge signed a search warrant based upon "the sworn application"*fn1 of Mooney authorizing police to search defendant's car, apartment and person. During the search the police seized heroin, two handguns, and an assault rifle.
Defendant was charged in a sixteen count indictment with numerous CDS and weapons offenses. On August 17, 2009, defendant filed an omnibus motion to dismiss the indictment, suppress all evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant, and require the State to disclose the identity of the CI and surveillance locations. He also requested an evidentiary hearing to determine the veracity of Mooney's affidavit.
A second judge, who had not sign the warrant, dismissed two counts of the indictment and denied defendant's remaining requests. The judge subsequently denied defendant's motion for reconsideration. Defendant then pled guilty to four counts in ...