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State v. Christopher

Decided: April 25, 1977.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT AND CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM ROBERT CHRISTOPHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-RESPONDENT



Lora, Crane and Michels. The opinion of the court was delivered by Michels, J.A.D.

Michels

Defendant William Robert Christopher was indicted by the Essex County grand jury and charged with the murder of William Malone. Defendant waived a trial by jury and the matter was tried by the judge alone. At the conclusion of all the evidence the judge found defendant guilty of second degree murder, stating that defendant's extrajudicial confession supported by corroborating evidence provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had committed the crime. He was sentenced to State Prison for a term of 10 to 30 years.

Defendant seeks a reversal of his conviction and, alternatively, a modification of his sentence on the following grounds set forth in his brief:

POINT I. Since the State violated the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment, the Brady v. Maryland [373 U.S. 83, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215] due process requirement, Rule 3:13-3 of the New Jersey Rules Governing Criminal Procedure and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the defendant's conviction should be reversed.

POINT II. When the State before trial failed to provide defense counsel with the items and information enumerated herein, the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to adequate and effective representation by counsel was destroyed warranting reversal.

POINT III. The restriction of defense counsel's cross-examination of Mr. Hoffman coupled with the court's refusal to compel Irma Gathen's testimony was a denial of defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial.

POINT IV. Viewed in combination the errors complained of in Points I, II and III of this brief were so prejudicial to defendant's due process and fair trial rights that defendant's conviction should be reversed and a new trial ordered.

POINT V. Since there was no independent corroborative proof tending to establish that when the defendant made the admission against interest he was telling the truth, there is insufficient evidence of guilt.

POINT VI. The defendant's sentence is manifestly excessive and should be modified.

We have carefully considered all of defendant's arguments addressed to these issues and find them to be clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).

The record amply supports the trial court's finding that defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of second degree murder. State v. Johnson , 42 N.J. 146, 162 (1964). In our view, the State's corroborating proofs strengthened defendant's confession and tended to generate a belief in its trustworthiness. State v. Lucas , 30 N.J. 37, 56-58 (1959). See also State v. ...


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