Two Unlawful Weapons But Only One Extended Term For Convicted Felon
- January 22, 2014
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In State v. Robbins, the defendant, Sylvanus K. Robbins, was convicted of 2 counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7), possession of a stun gun (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3h), possession of a sawed-off shotgun (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3b), unlawful possession of a loaded weapon (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c(2)) and hindering his own prosecution (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(1)). Robbins appealed the conviction and the 16 year aggregate extended-term sentence with 50% parole disqualifier. Defendant was stopped for an illegal u-turn and failed to produce a license, registration or insurance card then confessed to having a suspended North Carolina driver’s license. The defendant was ordered from the vehicle and secured in handcuffs for officer safety and during the detention it was discovered defendant had warrants from North Carolina for burglary, kidnapping and assault by strangulation. Defendant agreed to a search of the vehicle and based on information provided by defendant’s girlfriend, the police also sought consent to search their hotel room. Upon receiving consent to search from defendant’s girlfriend, police discovered a sawed-off shotgun, ammunition and a stun gun in the hotel room. Police stated that, after being Mirandized but before deciding whether to give up the right to remain silent, Defendant immediately admitted to ownership of the shotgun, advising it was for protection when riding his dirt bike in the North Carolina woods. Defendant denied admission of ownership of the gun and stated he only consented to the search as it was very cold outside and the officer had him stand outside of the car until he consented. The judge was not satisfied consent was voluntary and suppressed a fake gun found in the trunk of the car. The judge also decided the search of the hotel room was separate from the search of the vehicle and would have happened as a result of the warrants therefore, pursuant to Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963) the shotgun was not “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The judge held that the defendant’s admission to ownership of the gun did not violate Miranda or Rule 3:17(a) as it was made spontaneously and not during an investigation. On appeal, the NJ Appellate Division affirmed the conviction and found the 16 year extended-term not to be excessive for possession of a saw-off shotgun gun by a convicted felon pursuant to State v. Bieniek, 182 N.J. 44 (2004). The Appellate Division did remand for re-sentencing with regard to the imposition of 2 extended term sentences as N.J.S.A. 2C:44-5a(2) prohibits more than one extended term. In regard to possession of the stun gun by a convicted felon, the sentence was to be a concurrent, ordinary term. If you are facing weapons or other serious charges, it is critical for you to obtain experienced criminal defense counsel to fight the charges. Conviction and even certain negotiated pleas can result in extended term sentences which will deprive you of your freedom for a large part of your life as well as have a devastating impact on your loved ones. For more information regarding weapons possession by a convicted felon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, hindering apprehension and other serious criminal charges in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.