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State v. Baldwin

January 15, 1997

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHAEL BALDWIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

Approved for Publication January 17, 1997.

Before Judges Long, Skillman and A.a. Rodriguez. The opinion of the court was delivered by Skillman, J.A.D.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Skillman

The opinion of the court was delivered by

SKILLMAN, J.A.D.

Tried before a jury, defendant was found guilty of purposeful or knowing murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1),(2), possession of a handgun without a permit, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. The court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment, with a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility, for murder, and a concurrent five year term of imprisonment for possession of a handgun without a permit. The court merged defendant's conviction for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose into his conviction for murder. The court also imposed a total VCCB assessment of $100 and a total SNSF assessment of $150.

On appeal, defendant makes the following arguments:

I. THE TRIAL COURT'S TOTAL OMISSION OF ANY INSTRUCTION REGARDING THE JURY'S OBLIGATION TO ASSESS THE CREDIBILITY OF THREE INCRIMINATORY OUT-OF-COURT STATEMENTS ALLEGEDLY MADE BY DEFENDANT TO TWO DIFFERENT PERSONS DEPRIVED DEFENDANT DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below)

II. THE TRIAL COURT'S FAILURE TO CAUTION THE JURY REGARDING THE RELIABILITY OF DEFENDANT'S THREE INCRIMINATORY OUT-OF-COURT ORAL STATEMENTS DEPRIVED DEFENDANT DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below).

III. WRIGHT'S TESTIMONY THAT HE OVERHEARD DEFENDANT SAY TO SOME UNKNOWN PERSON "GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, OR YOU WILL BE NEXT," IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SHOOTING, CONSTITUTED EXTREMELY PREJUDICIAL OTHER-CRIMES EVIDENCE DEPRIVING DEFENDANT OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below)

IV. THE TRIAL COURT'S TOTAL OMISSION OF A JURY CHARGE ON "MERE PRESENCE" DEPRIVED DEFENDANT DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below)

V. THE ACCUMULATION OF ERRORS DENIED DEFENDANT DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL.

VI. THE IMPOSITION OF A MAXIMUM LIFE SENTENCE FOR MURDER WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY A PROPER ANALYSIS OF AGGRAVATING AND MITIGATING FACTORS.

Except for defendant's first two arguments relating to the trial court's failure to give the jury special cautionary instructions regarding its consideration of his alleged inculpatory out-of-court statements, defendant's arguments are clearly ...


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