On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 09-02-0270.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 7, 2012
Before Judges Harris and Hoffman.
After unsuccessfully moving to suppress evidence, defendant Jabril Reynolds pled guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (a .45 caliber handgun) without first obtaining a permit to carry the same, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). He was sentenced to three years in prison with a parole disqualifier of three years.
On appeal, Reynolds presents the following argument:
POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE.
Our examination of the record convinces us that the motion was properly denied. We affirm.
On Saturday, November 8, 2008, at approximately 2:30 a.m., two New Brunswick police officers -- Sergeant Steven Middleton and Police Officer Dean Dakin -- observed a Honda automobile parked in a public parking lot on Easton Avenue in New Brunswick. The Honda had previously been observed on the street with Reynolds driving. The police officers were familiar with the Honda and its two occupants, having stopped the car and interviewed both occupants the previous day.
Sergeant Middleton began walking towards the parking lot while Officer Dakin turned his unmarked Ford Explorer around. Reynolds was observed in the vicinity of the Honda's trunk, which he had opened. Upon Sergeant Middleton's approach, Reynolds looked up and then ran off.
The sergeant pursued and apprehended Reynolds in short order. Meanwhile, Officer Dakin was able to maneuver his vehicle into the parking lot and positioned it behind the Honda, blocking its movement. He exited and eventually looked into the open trunk, observing "a large handgun pursuant [sic] to a white leather coat." Officer Dakin immediately seized what he described as a "44 Desert Eagle[,] [i]t's a very, very large handgun. . . . It's a cannon, like they use -- like Dirty Harry would use in the movie. It's that large of a gun."
After Sergeant Middleton returned with Reynolds in handcuffs and under arrest, Officer Dakin proceeded to "further check out the Honda and [he] discover[ed] another handgun in the trunk." Reynolds was wearing a bullet-proof vest, "exactly like a law enforcement officer. He had [it] under his ...