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State v. Ball

Decided: August 7, 1987.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT BALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County.

Brody and Skillman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Skillman, J.A.D.

Skillman

Defendant was convicted by a jury of receiving stolen property with a value in excess of $500, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7, and was sentenced to an indeterminate term at the Youth Correctional Complex.

On appeal defendant makes the following arguments:

POINT I: THE COURT BELOW COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE.

POINT II: THE COURT BELOW COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY DENYING THE APPLICATION OF THE DEFENDANT FOR A CHARGE TO THE JURY TO INCLUDE A CHARGE FOR A FOURTH DEGREE CRIME (THEFT OF PROPERTY HAVING A VALUE LESS THAN $500.00).

POINT III: THE COURT BELOW COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY FAILING TO EXERCISE ITS DISCRETION TO GRANT RELIEF TO THE DEFENDANT, BY REASON OF THE FAILURE OF THE STATE TO COMPLY WITH ITS DISCOVERY OBLIGATIONS.

We conclude that the trial court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress. However, we also conclude that the trial court failed to instruct the jury correctly with respect to the elements of the crime of receiving stolen property with a value in excess of $500. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand for a new trial.

I

The motion to suppress was heard on the following stipulated facts which were set forth in the parties' motion briefs. At approximately 2:30 p.m. on November 22, 1985, Officer Christopher O'Neill of the Rahway Police Department received a tip from a confidential, reliable informant that there was a truck in the rear of 111-113 Monroe Street which had a stolen engine in it. A boarding house is located at this address and a number of garages are in the rear. Defendant rents one or more of the garages for the purpose of storing and repairing vehicles.

Upon his arrival at the premises, Officer O'Neill observed an older model 1960 black Chevrolet pickup truck parked in the rear. The pickup truck had no license plates. The vehicle also had no visible vehicle identification number. However, it did have a temporary inspection sticker. The condition of the vehicle was deemed by Officer O'Neill to be inoperable. It was missing its engine hood, tires, and was in overall ...


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