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State v. Iturralde

June 14, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JORGE ITURRALDE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, 785-06-83.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 30, 2007

Before Judges Skillman and Lisa.

Defendant was convicted in 1983 of felony murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(3), and other offenses. He was sentenced on November 18, 1983 to an aggregate term of life imprisonment with a twenty-five-year parole disqualifier. We affirmed his conviction, State v. Jorge Rodriguez (now known as Jorge Iturralde), A-1996-83T4 (June 25, 1985), and the Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for certification, State v. Jorge Rodriguez (now known as Jorge Iturralde), 102 N.J. 323 (1985). Defendant also applied for habeas corpus relief in Federal court, which was denied.

On July 18, 2005, defendant filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds that the prosecutor withheld at the time of trial potentially exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed. 2d 215 (1963). The evidence allegedly withheld consisted of a one-page report issued by the State Police Laboratory on March 11, 1983, bearing Laboratory Number 89624 LF, which set forth the results of an examination at the laboratory as follows:

The hair and hair fragments recovered from the black tape found in the bag with the stocking (Specimen #6) do not compare with the suspect's hair controls (Specimens #7A thru E and #8A thru E).

The State argued that the report was indeed furnished to defendant's trial counsel prior to trial. Alternatively, the State argued that the report was readily discoverable by the exercise of reasonable diligence at the time of trial and that it is not the sort of evidence that would probably change the jury's verdict if a new trial were granted. The trial judge agreed with both of the State's arguments and denied defendant's motion. This appeal followed.

Defendant argues:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY NOT ASSESSING THE "REPORT OF THE LAB RESULTS OF THE HAIR SAMPLES" TOGETHER WITH ALL OTHER RELEVANT AND MATERIAL EVIDENCE AT TRIAL TO MAKE A PROPER FINDING WHETHER THE PROSECUTION SUPPRESSED INFORMATION FAVORABLE TO THE DEFENDANT.

POINT II

THE LAW DIVISION WAS REQUIRED BY LAW TO GRANT THE MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL BASED ON BOTH "BRADY" ...


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