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State v. Wood

Decided: October 22, 1974.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MARTIN J. WOOD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



For affirmance -- Chief Justice Hughes and Justices Jacobs, Hall, Mountain, Sullivan and Clifford. For reversal -- Justice Pashman. Pashman, J. (dissenting).

Per Curiam

Defendant Martin J. Wood was convicted of second degree murder for the shooting death of Sally Ann Gulden and was sentenced to a term of 15 to 18 years in State Prison. On appeal to the Appellate Division his conviction was affirmed in a majority opinion. 130 N.J. Super. 401 (1973). One judge dissented on the ground that the trial court made improper and inadequate rulings in two instances involving the admissibility of evidence, and that defendant was prejudiced thereby. Defendant has appealed to this Court as of right. R. 2:2-1.

We have reviewed the issues raised and find no substantial merit in any of them basically for the same reasons expressed in the majority opinion of the Appellate Division.

We have also, sua sponte, considered the weight of the evidence and are satisfied that the credible proofs fully support the finding of defendant's guilt.

Affirmed.

PASHMAN, J. (dissenting). I agree with Judge Halpern's dissenting opinion in the Appellate Division which concluded that defendant was deprived of a fair trial requiring a reversal of the conviction and a remand for a new trial. 130 N.J. Super. 401 (App. Div. 1973). Specific references to the trial record further support this dissent.

The prosecutor read to the jury as "past recollection recorded" a statement taken on September 30, 1970 from Jack Gulden, the victim's son, concerning a fight between the victim and defendant which allegedly occurred some time between early April and June 1, 1970. The following direct examination is the portion of the testimony on which the purported foundation for the reading of this highly damaging statement was laid:

Q Do you recall another incident that took place sometime between your mother and Mr. Wood?

A Another incident?

Q Yes.

A No, I can't.


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