Middlesex County cocaine conviction upheld but extended-term sentencing ruled improper

State v. Ellis, decided by the New Jersey Appellate Division in May, upheld a Middlesex County jury verdict convicting the defendant of second degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The court found that extended-term sentencing was inappropriate, however, and remanded for resentencing. State v. Ellis, No. A-2395-10T2 (N.J. App. Div. May 24, 2013).
The defendant in Ellis was staying at a motel in Woodbridge Township when he was arrested. He had initially called the police himself after two men forced their way into his motel room and attacked him. After he was taken to the hospital, however, the police found marijuana and cocaine in his room. The defendant was then arrested, despite his protests that the drugs belonged to the men who attacked him.

The defendant in Ellis was staying at a motel in Woodbridge Township when he was arrested. He had initially called the police himself after two men forced their way into his motel room and attacked him. After he was taken to the hospital, however, the police found marijuana and cocaine in his room. The defendant was then arrested, despite his protests that the drugs belonged to the men who attacked him.

The jury convicted the defendant of third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and second degree possession with intent to distribute. At sentencing, the trial court then granted the prosecution’s motion to impose a mandatory extended term and sentenced the defendant to 15 years in prison subject to a 7.5 year parole ineligibility period.

On appeal, the court upheld the jury verdict and conviction, but remanded the case for resentencing. As the court explained, the prosecution failed to file a motion for extended-term sentencing within two weeks of the conviction, as required by law. Moreover, although the trial judge had based the defendant’s enhanced sentence on his record of prior drug convictions, the details of those convictions were not entered into evidence. Without any information about the nature or severity of the defendant’s prior convictions, the court ruled that it was inappropriate to issue an extended term sentence.

To speak with an attorney about drug offenses in Middlesex County, contact Anthony N. Palumbo at 908-337-7353. With nearly 40 years of experience as a New Jersey criminal defense attorney, Mr. Palumbo has the negotiation skills, strategic ability, and courtroom eloquence to help get the best possible outcome in your case.

This entry was posted in Middlesex County Cocaine Lawyer, Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorney and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.