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State v. Harris

December 26, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JAMIEL H. HARRIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, 05-02-0464-I.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 13, 2007

Before Judges Weissbard and S.L. Reisner.

Jamiel H. Harris appeals from his conviction on a single count indictment charging that he "unlawfully and purposely obtain[ed] by deception property of Cherry Hill Dodge with a value in excess of $500 with purpose to deprive the owner thereof." N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. On May 19, 2006, the trial judge sentenced defendant to a one-year term of probation conditional upon his finding full-time employment. Appropriate penalties and assessments were also imposed. On appeal, defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL AT THE END OF THE STATE'S CASE AS THE STATE DID NOT PROVE ITS CASE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AS TO INTENT TO DECEIVE.

POINT II: THE JUDGE'S CHARGE TO THE JURY INCORRECTLY INCLUDED LANGUAGE THAT DEALT SOLELY WITH A FIDUCIARY OR CONFIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIP WHICH WAS NOT PRESENT IN THIS CASE.

POINT III: THE COURT ERRED IN NOT GRANTING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION TO ACQUIT.

POINT IV: THE COURT ERRED IN NOT GRANTING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL BASED ON NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE.

We agree with defendant's arguments set forth in Point I; therefore, we reverse his conviction and order the entry of a judgment of acquittal.

The State presented its case through the testimony of two former employees of Cherry Hill Dodge. Lamar McDaniel testified that on Saturday, January 17, 2004, he was employed at Cherry Hill Dodge as a sales consultant. On that day defendant came to the dealership to purchase a car. After looking at several vehicles defendant decided to buy a 2004 Dodge Intrepid. Pursuant to a "special" offered by the dealership that weekend, the dealership accepted defendant's 1997 Ford Mustang, which was in poor condition, as a trade-in valued at $8,807.70. After the trade-in value was deducted, defendant owed a balance of $29,694.99, which was to be financed through Chrysler Financial. Defendant was to return on the following Monday or Tuesday with a deposit of $2,000.

At the time of the transaction, defendant presented an expired identification document from the State of Pennsylvania, his expired military identification and an insurance card. Nevertheless, after McDaniel spoke with his sales manager, they decided to accept the identification documents. Defendant did not have a driver's license with him at the time. McDaniel testified as follows concerning the insurance card:

Q: You also indicated that the defendant provided you with ...


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