PEOPLE v. GOMEZ

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Felix GOMEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: October 19, 2004

NARDELLI, J.P., SAXE, SULLIVAN, ELLERIN, SWEENY, JJ. Robert S. Dean, Center for Appellate Litigation, New York (Gayle Pollack of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Megan E. Joy of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Michael R. Ambrecht, J. at hearing;  John A.K. Bradley, J. at plea and sentence), rendered July 15, 2003, convicting defendant of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, and sentencing him to a term of 7 years to life, unanimously affirmed.

The court properly denied defendant's suppression motion.   There is no basis for disturbing the court's credibility determinations, which are supported by the record (see People v. Prochilo, 41 N.Y.2d 759, 761, 395 N.Y.S.2d 635, 363 N.E.2d 1380 [1977] ).   The People met their burden of establishing that defendant voluntarily consented to a search of his car (see People v. Gonzalez, 39 N.Y.2d 122, 383 N.Y.S.2d 215, 347 N.E.2d 575 [1976] ).   The circumstances were not coercive, and the record supports the court's finding that the officer spoke Spanish well enough to communicate with defendant in that language with regard to his consent to the officer's search.   In view of defendant's failure to place any limitations on the search, and his failure to object to the search as it was conducted, we conclude that the officer did not exceed the scope of defendant's consent when he searched in the area of a hidden compartment (see People v. Mitchell, 211 A.D.2d 553, 621 N.Y.S.2d 581 [1995], lv. denied 86 N.Y.2d 738, 631 N.Y.S.2d 619, 655 N.E.2d 716 [1995] ).