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State v. Phillips

August 23, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JUDE PHILLIPS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Ind. No. 03-09-03003.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 30, 2007

Before Judges Kestin, Graves and Lihotz.

Defendant Jude Phillips was charged with murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) (count one); second-degree aggravated arson, N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a (count two); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (scissors), N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d (count three); and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d (count four). The first trial resulted in a hung jury. Upon retrial, defendant was convicted of the lesser included offense under count one of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a, and on counts two and four. The court dismissed count four during sentencing. Defendant was sentenced on the remaining convictions to consecutive sentences resulting in an aggregate term of thirty-four years imprisonment, with a No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility. Applicable penalties and assessments were also imposed.

Defendant raises the following arguments for our consideration on appeal:

POINT I

THE PROSECUTOR'S STATEMENTS IN ITS OPENING AND SUMMATION DENIED DEFENDANT A FAIR TRIAL.

POINT II

THE STATE'S IMPROPER CROSS-EXAMINATION OF APPELLANT'S ALIBI WITNESSES AND INADEQUATE JURY INSTRUCTIONS RENDERED THE TRIAL UNFAIR (Partially Raised Below).

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN LIMITING CROSS-EXAMINATION OF ZAKHARIA CONCERNING POTENTIAL BIAS.

POINT IV

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONTINUALLY PERMITTING EXPERTS TO TESTIFY TO MATTERS OUTSIDE THE REPORT PROVIDED TO THE DEFENSE IN DISCOVERY.

We ...


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