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State v. Nantambu

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 29, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KINGKAMAU NANTAMBU, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 7, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment No. 11-08-1986.

James P. McClain, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor, attorney for appellant (James F. Smith, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Mazraani & Liguori, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent (Joseph C. Liguori, on the brief).

Before Judges Kennedy and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

By leave granted, the State appeals from that portion of a March 4, 2013 Law Division order, [1] which granted defendant Kingkamau Nantambu's motion to suppress a tape-recording containing two conversations between defendant and Crystal Aikens. The State also appeals from the order denying its motion for reconsideration. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

I.

On April 26, 2010, Atlantic City Police Detective David Smith responded to a 911 call regarding a domestic disturbance at defendant's apartment. Defendant's girlfriend, Crystal Aikens, met Detective Smith outside the apartment and told him that defendant had threatened her with a gun during an argument. As Smith was speaking with Aikens, defendant was inside the apartment on the phone informing a police dispatcher that he needed medical attention because Aikens had assaulted him with a knife. When defendant went outside, the officers arrested, handcuffed, and placed him in the back of the police patrol vehicle.

Medical personnel arrived and treated several cuts on defendant's bicep and wrist. Detective Smith then transported defendant to the police station. While in transit, defendant told Smith he had nothing to hide, stating: "[Y]ou can check my box. I'll open it. Here's the key. Check my lock box because she said . . . there's a gun in the box. . . . I have no problem with it." Detective Smith asked defendant if he would consent to a search of the apartment "to end this one way or the other[, ]" and defendant agreed. Smith then turned his vehicle around and returned to defendant's apartment.

Defendant signed a written consent form authorizing the search of the apartment, his safe, and his vehicle. Smith advised defendant of the scope of the search and his right to stop the search at any time. Defendant was present during the search and opened his safe, but no gun was found. However, one of the officers found a gun under a child's bed in the bedroom and defendant was arrested for possession of the gun and brought to the police station.

Defendant was first indicted on June 22, 2010. Before trial began, Aikens called the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office and left a voicemail message indicating that she had been subjected to witness tampering.

On August 2, 2011, Aikens allowed detectives to record her telephone conversation with defendant. Aikens called defendant while the detectives contemporaneously listened to and recorded the conversation. Aikens told defendant she had been contacted by the Prosecutor's Office but she "stalled them." She then expressed concern that she might get in trouble and told defendant she had been ...


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