On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County.
Approved for Publication December 13, 1997.
Before Judges Pressler, Wallace and Carchman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Pressler, P.j.a.d.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pressler
The opinion of the court was delivered by
Following a bench trial, defendant Jimmy Lee Riley was convicted of related charges of first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and fourth-degree possession of a knife under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful use, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d. He was acquitted of the related charge of third-degree possession of a knife with intent to use it unlawfully. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d. Defendant was sentenced to a sixteen-year term on the first-degree conviction and to a concurrent term of ten months on the fourth-degree conviction. Appropriate VCCB and SSCA penalties were also imposed.
In appealing from the judgment of conviction, defendant raises the following issues:
I. THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN REFUSING TO DISMISS/AMEND COUNT 1 AS TO THE ARMED ROBBERY SINCE DEFENDANT WAS NEVER ARMED WITH A DEADLY WEAPON.
II. DEFENDANT'S CONVICTION FOR FIRST DEGREE ARMED ROBBERY MUST BE REVERSED AS THE POCKETKNIFE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A "DEADLY WEAPON."
III. THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN REFUSING TO ENTER A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANT AS TO ALL COUNTS; THE STATE FAILED TO ESTABLISH DEFENDANT'S GUILT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT CONTRARY TO THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND NEW JERSEY STATE CONSTITUTION. (Partially raised below.)
IV. THE DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE DEFENDANT'S GUILT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT CONTRARY TO THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND NEW JERSEY STATE CONSTITUTION.
V. DEFENDANT RILEY WAS DENIED HIS STATE AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL AS GUARANTEED BY THE SIXTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND BY ARTICLE I, PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE NEW JERSEY STATE CONSTITUTION. (Not raised below.)
VI. THE DEFENDANT WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT CONFRONTATION RIGHT AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL DUE TO THE ADMISSION OF HEARSAY. (Partially raised below.)
VII. THE CONVICTION OF COUNT 1 (ARMED ROBBERY) IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE ACQUITTAL OF COUNT 2 (POSSESSION OF A WEAPON FOR AN UNLAWFUL PURPOSE) IN VIOLATION OF DEFENDANT'S FOURTEENTH ...