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State v. Garrison

Decided: April 24, 1989.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DANA A. GARRISON, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Burlington County.

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

Ashbey

On April 28, 1988, defendant Dana Garrison was indicted for one count of first degree armed robbery, one count of first degree conspiracy, and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, a third degree offense. Garrison applied for and was rejected by the Burlington County Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). Defendant appealed the rejection to the Law Division.*fn1 On November 14, 1988, the trial judge issued a letter opinion reversing the PTI rejection and admitting defendant into the program. The State's motion for leave to appeal was granted.

The factual basis for the indictment must be considered undisputed for purposes of the PTI application. Garrison was an accomplice to an armed robbery in which one William Carter entered a liquor store wearing a dark blue ski mask with eye and nose holes, and using a gun, robbed the store of $500. Carter then left in a car driven by defendant Garrison. Carter gave Garrison $100. Both Garrison and Carter were under the influence of cocaine and alcohol.

In his PTI rejection letter the PTI Director said,

The Director also said that not only had defendant been discharged from the Navy for substance abuse, but that defendant had lied about his drug habit in order to get into the Navy. The Director observed that, although defendant had prior opportunities, he first obtained help for his addiction only after he had been charged with this criminal offense.

The help which defendant received and to which the Director referred was at Hampton Psychiatric Hospital, where defendant was diagnosed as having a major depression with a guarded

prognosis. From there defendant was discharged to out-patient psychotherapy with Dr. Harvey Musikoff, a psychologist. Dr. Muskikoff filed a report with the court which said that Garrison "suffers from major depression with melancholia and thought disturbance within a borderline personality." His thought processes were so impaired that he could not logically think through the consequences of the crime he committed. Dr. Musikoff recommended:

The public welfare will not be compromised if he is allowed to participate in a Pretrial Intervention Program. Moreover, this would enhance the gains already made toward his recovery. This man has considerable potential, which will not be realized in prison. It is, therefore, that I recommend the following program:

1. Individual psychotherapy;

2. Psychotropic ...


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