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State v. Turner

September 14, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JUAN TURNER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. 03-11-3715.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 4, 2007

Before Judges Payne and Messano.

Defendant Juan Turner was indicted by the Essex County grand jury and charged in count one with murder in the first degree, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) or (2); in count two with third degree unlawful possession of a handgun, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; in count three with second degree possession of a handgun with the purpose to use it unlawfully, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a; in count four with third degree terroristic threats, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a; and in count five with second degree witness tampering, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5.

Prior to trial, the State dismissed the last two counts of the indictment and the matter was tried before a jury as to the three remaining counts. After trial, defendant was found guilty of all three charges and, on September 27, 2004, after denying defendant's motion for a new trial, the judge imposed sentence. After merging the third count into the first count, the judge sentenced defendant on the murder conviction to life imprisonment with an 85% period of parole disqualification pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA). N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. The judge advised defendant that he would be eligible for parole in approximately sixty-three years and eight months. On count two, defendant was sentenced to five years imprisonment to run concurrent to the sentence on count one. The appropriate penalties were also imposed.

On appeal, defendant raises three points.

POINT I

THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENSE REQUEST FOR A MISTRIAL AFTER HE MISINFORMED THE JURY AS TO WHAT THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY HAD SAID IN HIS SUMMATION.

POINT II

THE JUDGE ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENSE MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL AS THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.

POINT III

THE DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE WAS EXCESSIVE.

In a supplemental pro-se brief, defendant raises one additional point.

POINT I

NUMEROUS ERRORS BY THE COURT AND MISCONDUCT BY THE PROSECUTOR DURING THE COURSE OF PROCEEDINGS ROSE TO THE LEVEL OF DEPRIVING DEFENDANT OF HIS U.S.C.A. SIXTH AMENDMENT [] RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL, ...


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