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State v. Jackson

November 23, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
SHEILA JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
STEVENSON JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, 05-02-0143.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 5, 2007

Before Judges Lintner and Graves.

These two appeals, which we decide back-to-back, arise from Gloucester County Indictment No. 05-02-00143, which charged both Sheila and Stevenson Jackson with burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 (Count One); theft by unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 (Count Two); receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (Count Three); and conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 (Count Four). Following a three-day trial, a jury found both defendants not guilty of burglary but guilty of fourth-degree crimes of theft, receiving stolen property, and conspiracy. The trial judge sentenced Sheila to a six-month term on the theft and conspiracy convictions, which he ran concurrent with one another. The receiving stolen property conviction was merged with the theft conviction. Stevenson received an eighteen-month term of imprisonment on the theft conviction with a concurrent eighteen-month term on the conspiracy conviction. The receiving stolen property conviction was merged with the theft conviction. Both defendants appeal. We affirm the judgments of conviction but remand to correct the sentences imposed.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m. on the evening of December 17, 2004, Sharon Hampton was returning home from work when she saw a tan car parked at the end of her driveway. She saw defendants in the car. She knew both, having socialized with them in the past. In fact, both defendants had been at Hampton's house the previous night. Hampton stopped and chatted with them, at which time she noticed a television set in the open trunk. She did not recognize the television set at the time and there was no mention of it during their conversation.

Hampton bid defendants goodbye and walked to her house. As she approached, she noticed that motion lights, which should have been activated, did not turn on. When she went to put her key in the door, it swung open and nails fell out. After entering her house, she found the stereo was missing. She went to her neighbors and called 911.

After officers arrived, Hampton re-entered her house and discovered that a twenty-seven inch Phillips Magnavox TV, a VCR, a stereo, a telephone, a computer, and some jewelry were also missing. After telling the officers about her earlier meeting with defendants, she was instructed to call Sheila. Hampton called and asked Sheila whether she found the television in the trash. Hampton told Sheila that the police were at her house and wanted Sheila to return to the house. Both Sheila and Stevenson returned with the television in the trunk. Hampton recognized the television as the one missing from her home. Defendants were placed under arrest.

At trial, Hampton explained that the television was won by her boyfriend at work. At the time, she and her boyfriend were not living together, having had an off-and-on relationship. During the times she and her boyfriend were not living together, the television remained in her house. When asked if the television was her boyfriend's, she replied that "it was at my house . . . [it] was given to me." Hampton estimated that the television had a value of $500. Defendants chose not to testify.

On appeal, Sheila raises the following points:

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO MERGE ALL THREE OF THE COUNTS OF THE INDICTMENT OF WHICH THE DEFENDANT WAS FOUND GUILTY.

II. THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY ALLEGEDLY STOLEN AND SO THE DEFENDANT SHOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN CONVICTED OF A DISORDERLY PERSONS OFFENSE.

III. THERE ARE VARYING REASONS WHY THE CHARGE OF CONSPIRACY ...


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