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State v. Nyema

November 16, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSEPHUS NYEMA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 04-10-0715.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 29, 2007

Before Judges Lintner, Graves and Sabatino.

Following a jury trial, defendant Josephus Nyema was convicted of third-degree forgery, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1(a)(3) (count one), and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4(a) (count two). At the sentencing hearing on August 26, 2005, count two was merged into count one and defendant was sentenced to a three-year term of probation conditioned upon obtaining and maintaining full-time employment.

In a subsequent proceeding, the court granted the State's motion, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2, for forfeiture of defendant's public employment.

On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE PROSECUTOR'S REMARKS DURING HIS SUMMATION WHICH WERE IMPROPER AND DENIED THE DEFENDANT A FAIR TRIAL; A REVERSAL IS WARRANTED[.]

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT ASSURING THAT DEFENSE COUNSEL ORDERED THE GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT SO THAT DEFENSE COUNSEL COULD HAVE FILED A MOTION TO DISMISS BASED UPON THE PRESENTATION TO THE GRAND JURY AND COULD HAVE USED THE TRANSCRIPT FOR TRIAL PREPARATION[.]

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT ASSURING THAT DEFENDANT WAS TOLD HE COULD LOSE HIS JOB IF FOUND GUILTY; A PLEA NEGOTIATION COULD HAVE BEEN REACHED WHICH INCLUDED THE MAINTENANCE OF HIS POSITION[.]

POINT IV

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE DOCUMENTS WHICH WERE THE SUBJECT OF THE INDICTMENT[.]

POINT V

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED DURING THE VOIR DIRE OF THE JURY PANEL BY NOT SPECIFICALLY ASKING THE PANEL WHETHER THEY WOULD TREAT THE TESTIMONY OF A JUDGE MORE OR LESS FAVORABLY[.]

Based on our review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that defendant's arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant extended discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). Nonetheless, after noting the key facts, we will comment briefly on each point raised.

The facts of this case are straightforward and uncomplicated. After defendant filed a civil lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), the case went to mediation. Deputy Attorney General Saju Mathew, the attorney for the DOC, testified that defendant's case was resolved through mediation:

Q: What happened at the mediation?

A: The mediation was scheduled at the mediator's office. It was a Mr. Leeds, I believe. I went there, along with a representative from the Department of Corrections, Ms. Meyer-Mahoney, and Mr. Nyema was there along with an attorney representing him. And, in essence, the five of us would meet in that conference room, and the mediator worked out a resolution eventually.

Q: What was the resolution that the mediator worked out?

A: The case against the Department of Corrections was ...


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