PEOPLE v. REVANDER

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Thomas A. REVANDER, Appellant.

Decided: October 29, 1998

Before MIKOLL, J.P., MERCURE, CREW, YESAWICH and PETERS, JJ. Peter B. Meadow, Woodbourne, for appellant. Stephen F. Lungen, District Attorney (Joey Z. Drillings of counsel), Monticello, for respondent.

Appeal from a judgment of the County Court of Sullivan County (La Buda, J.), rendered June 13, 1997, upon a verdict convicting defendant of the crimes of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree and speeding.

After a State Trooper observed defendant driving at a speed of over 70 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone, and stopped the car to issue a ticket, he discovered that defendant's license had been suspended.   Defendant was thereupon arrested for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and searched, whereupon three small foil-wrapped packets, containing a substance resembling crack cocaine, were discovered in his sock.   When the vehicle's only passenger revealed that he, too, was without a valid driver's license, the Trooper performed an inventory search of the car-which was to be impounded-uncovering three similar packets beside and behind the passenger seat.   Both of the car's occupants were then arrested and taken to the police barracks.   There, a strip search of defendant yielded several more foil-wrapped bundles, one of which contained 14 smaller packages.   Upon testing, each of the packets was found to contain crack cocaine.   Convicted after a jury trial of two drug-related charges, as well as aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and speeding, and sentenced (as a second felony offender) to an aggregate prison term of 10 to 20 years, defendant appeals.

 The only matter meriting discussion is defendant's contention that he was subjected to an illegal search and seizure, and that his motion to suppress the physical evidence should therefore have been granted.   The testimony elicited at the suppression hearing established that defendant's car was legitimately stopped for a traffic infraction, and that the Trooper's actions thereafter-including his arrest of defendant for driving without a valid license, the search performed incident to that arrest, the impounding and inventory search of the car, and the more exhaustive search of defendant undertaken at the police barracks-were in no respect improper (see, e.g., People v. Ross, 228 A.D.2d 718, 719, 644 N.Y.S.2d 336, lv. denied 88 N.Y.2d 993, 649 N.Y.S.2d 400, 672 N.E.2d 626;  People v. Rhodes, 206 A.D.2d 710, 710-711, 614 N.Y.S.2d 641, lv. denied 84 N.Y.2d 1014, 622 N.Y.S.2d 926, 647 N.E.2d 132;  People v. Wilcox, 198 A.D.2d 544, 603 N.Y.S.2d 199, lv. denied 82 N.Y.2d 932, 610 N.Y.S.2d 184, 632 N.E.2d 494).   Given County Court's acceptance of the Trooper's testimony as credible (an assessment with which we are not disposed to disagree [cf., People v. Prochilo, 41 N.Y.2d 759, 761, 395 N.Y.S.2d 635, 363 N.E.2d 1380] ) and the absence of any contrary proof, defendant's assertion that the stop was pretextual is unpersuasive (see, People v. Peterson, 245 A.D.2d 815, 816-817, 666 N.Y.S.2d 785;  compare, People v. Ynoa, 223 A.D.2d 975, 636 N.Y.S.2d 888, lv. denied 87 N.Y.2d 1027, 644 N.Y.S.2d 161, 666 N.E.2d 1075).

 Parenthetically, we note that while the sentence imposed is substantial, it is less than the statutory maximum, and given defendant's criminal history (including two prior felonies), the quantity of illegal drugs he possessed and the lack of any mitigating or extraordinary circumstances, it cannot be viewed as unjust or excessive (see, People v. Hughes, 180 A.D.2d 908, 910, 580 N.Y.S.2d 514, lv. denied 80 N.Y.2d 1027, 592 N.Y.S.2d 677, 607 N.E.2d 824).

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

YESAWICH, Justice.

MIKOLL, J.P., MERCURE, CREW and PETERS, JJ., concur.

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