PEOPLE v. JOHNSON

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. James JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: October 20, 2005

MAZZARELLI, J.P., FRIEDMAN, MARLOW, NARDELLI, JJ. Laura R. Johnson, The Legal Aid Society, New York (Allen Fallek of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Madeleine Guilmain of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Carol Berkman, J.), rendered August 14, 2003, convicting defendant, upon his plea of guilty, of robbery in the first degree, and sentencing him, as a second violent felony offender, to a term of 18 years, unanimously affirmed.

 The court properly denied defendant's suppression motion.   The officers had reasonable suspicion upon which to stop and frisk defendant, whose clothing and physical characteristics fit an armed robber's description that was sufficiently specific, given the temporal and spatial factors (see e.g. People v. Rampersant, 272 A.D.2d 202, 708 N.Y.S.2d 70 [2000], lv. denied 95 N.Y.2d 870, 715 N.Y.S.2d 225, 738 N.E.2d 373 [2000] ).   During the frisk, the officer felt a “solid” bulge in the pocket of defendant's thick and soft jacket.   The officer was unable to rule out the possibility that the object was a weapon, and he was concerned that it might have been a weapon that had been wrapped to disguise its identity.   Therefore, the officer was justified in removing the object, particularly in light of his knowledge that the reported robberies involved the display of what appeared to be a firearm (see People v. Reyes, 234 A.D.2d 63, 651 N.Y.S.2d 431 [1996], affd. 90 N.Y.2d 916, 664 N.Y.S.2d 256, 686 N.E.2d 1350 [1997];  People v. Thompson, 232 A.D.2d 267, 648 N.Y.S.2d 548 [1996], lv. denied 89 N.Y.2d 947, 655 N.Y.S.2d 898, 678 N.E.2d 511 [1997] ).