NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 22, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 08-10-1865.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Linda Mehling, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Frank J. Ducoat, Deputy Attorney General, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Parrillo and Maven.
Following the denial of his motion to suppress evidence, defendant Ismail A. Moss entered a guilty plea to unlawful possession of a handgun, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). Defendant raises a single claim on appeal:
I. THE POLICE LACKED THE ARTICULABLE AND REASONABLE SUSPICION THAT [DEFENDANT] WAS ENGAGED IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY REQUIRED TO JUSTIFY THE STOP OF HIS CAR.
Having considered this argument in light of the record and applicable legal principles, we affirm.
At the evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress, the court heard the testimony of Jersey City Police Officer John Boamah and defendant. The court found the following facts.
Sometime shortly after 2:00 a.m. on April 19, 2008, the Jersey City Police Department received a telephone call from a male who informed the police that "he was outside smoking a [cigarette] when he noticed a male put a [black] gun in the trunk of a car[.]" The caller stated that the actor was sitting in a vehicle described as a green Chevrolet Cavalier with a specific New Jersey registration number. He further described the actor as a Black male, who was five feet, ten inches tall, and wearing a white jacket, blue jeans and white sneakers. The caller advised the police that the actor was at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Sheffield Street at the time. The caller declined to give his name but provided his phone number.
Shortly after receiving this information, police units were dispatched to the area of Ocean Avenue and Sheffield Street. Officers Boamah and Congelton were the first to arrive at the scene. Although they did not initially observe the vehicle at the location, they eventually observed a vehicle that matched the information received parked illegally in the crosswalk. They pulled behind the vehicle with their emergency lights activated. They observed a Black male matching the description occupying the driver's seat.
The officers immediately ordered the male, later identified as defendant, to place his hands on the vehicle and then conducted a pat-down of defendant. No weapon was found. The police then explained why they had stopped him. Defendant advised the officers that he had ...