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State v. Walters

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 2, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
LEON A. WALTERS, IV, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 15, 2013.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hunterdon County, Accusation No. 11-10-0352.

Richard W. Berg argued the cause for appellant (Law Office of Robin Kay Lord, LLC, attorneys; Mr. Berg and Robin Kay Lord, of counsel and on the brief).

Jeffrey L. Weinstein, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Anthony P. Kearns, III, Hunterdon County Prosecutor, attorney; Mr. Weinstein, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Fisher, Alvarez and St. John.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant Leon A. Walters, IV, appeals the denial of his motion to suppress certain evidence seized during the execution of a search warrant at his home. We affirm.

I.

We briefly summarize the relevant procedural history and the facts based on the record before us.

Defendant was indicted on September 3, 2009. That four count indictment charged him with fourth-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(4); third-degree terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(b); second-degree possession of a firearm for unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a); and third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(f). That same day, defendant was also charged on a second indictment with two counts of second-degree certain persons not to have weapons, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 and 39-7(b)(1).

Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to seven no-knock search warrants issued on April 27, 2009. Judge Stephen B. Rubin, denied the motion in a comprehensive January 8, 2010 written opinion.

On October 18, 2011, defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to an accusation to third-degree possession of assault firearms, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(f), in exchange for both September 3, 2009 indictments being dismissed in their entirety. Defendant was sentenced on December 2, 2011, pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, to a three-year term of probation conditioned upon serving 364 days in Hunterdon County Jail. Appropriate fines and penalties were imposed. Defendant was permitted to file for work release.

The relevant facts are described in the April 27, 2009 search warrant affidavit of Detective Kelsey A. Marsh of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office.

Defendant, a resident of West Amwell Township, shared a driveway with several neighbors. He reportedly dumped gravel on the driveway, creating several large speed bumps. At approximately 8:00 P.M. on April 15, 2009, Erica Bowman was visiting her parents, who shared the driveway with defendant. Bowman became frustrated with the speed bumps, and drove to defendant's residence to discuss them. Defendant's girlfriend answered the door and informed Bowman that he was ...


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