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State v. Sosinski

May 12, 2000

STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
V.
JAMES SOSINSKI,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Before Judges Pressler, Kimmelman and Ciancia.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimmelman, J.A.D.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 18, 2000

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

Tried to a jury, defendant James Sosinski was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(4)(a) (count one); sexual assault, a second-degree offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(4) (count three); official misconduct, a second-degree offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2a (counts four and five); criminal sexual contact, a fourth-degree offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b) (counts six and seven); and endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a (count eight).

Reasoning that the victims encouraged defendant's behavior and because it appeared at the sentencing hearing that the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors, the trial court downgraded defendant's second-degree convictions one degree and sentenced defendant on count one to a prison term of four years. The sentences on the remaining counts were made concurrent so that defendant received an aggregate sentence of four years flat. The customary statutory penalties were imposed. Defendant seeks a reversal of his convictions on the following grounds set forth in his brief:

POINT I - DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHT OF CONFRONTATION AS WELL AS HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AS A RESULT OF THE TRIAL COURT'S RULING PRECLUDING DEFENSE COUNSEL FROM INTRODUCING HIGHLY RELEVANT AND POTENTIALLY EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE UNDER THE GUISE OF THE RAPE SHIELD STATUTE.

POINT II - THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN PERMITTING THE STATE TO UTILIZE THE STATEMENT TAKEN FROM DEFENDANT BY THE POLICE FOR IMPEACHMENT PURPOSES IN VIOLATION OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

A. FACTUAL INTRODUCTION

B. THE PREVAILING CASE LAW AND LEGAL PRINCIPLES

C. THE EGREGIOUS CONDUCT OF THE POLICE IN OBTAINING THE STATEMENT FROM DEFENDANT JUSTIFIED ITS SUPPRESSION NOT MERELY DURING THE STATE'S CASE-IN- CHIEF BUT FOR IMPEACHMENT PURPOSES AS WELL.

POINT III - THE TRIAL COURT'S RESPONSE TO A PIVOTAL JURY QUESTION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT WAS SUFFICIENTLY INADEQUATE AS TO DENY DEFENDANT HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL.

POINT IV - THE MOTION COURT INITIALLY ERRED IN RULING PURSUANT TO AN IN CAMERA HEARING THAT CERTAIN INFORMATION CONTAINED IN A MEDICAL DISCHARGE SUMMARY WAS INADMISSIBLE AND SHOULD NOT BE TURNED OVER TO THE DEFENSE, WHILE THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY DENYING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL ON THIS BASIS.

POINT V - DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AS A RESULT OF THE PROSECUTOR'S ELICITATION OF TESTIMONY CONNECTING HIM WITH INADMISSIBLE CRIMINAL OR QUASI-CRIMINAL CONDUCT OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THE INDICTMENT.

POINT VI - THE TRIAL COURT IMPROPERLY RESTRICTED DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO CROSS-EXAMINE J.D. BY PRECLUDING QUESTIONING REGARDING THE ...


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