On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 05-07-1757.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 1, 2008
Before Judges R. B. Coleman and Simonelli.
A jury convicted defendant of second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b. The trial judge sentenced defendant to a discretionary extended twelve-year term of imprisonment. The judge also imposed the appropriate assessments and penalty.
On appeal, defendant raises the following contentions:
POINT I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO HOLD A HEARING AS TO THE DEFENDANT'S CHALLENGE TO THE COMPOSITION OF THE JURY PANEL. U.S. CONST., AMENDS. VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART. I, PAR. 9.
POINT II THE CONVICTION WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE, NECESSITATING REVERSAL. U.S. CONST., AMEND XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART I, PAR. 10. (NOT RAISED BELOW).
POINT II THE TRIAL COURT IMPOSED AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE NECESSITATING REDUCTION.
We reject these contentions and affirm.
The following facts are relevant to this appeal. While on patrol in an unmarked police vehicle on the evening of March 30-31, 2005, Detective Rashawn Johnson of the East Orange Police Department attempted to stop a dark-colored Ford Taurus with dark tinted windows in the Springdale-North Clinton residential area. The driver, later identified as defendant and the owner of the Taurus, did not stop. Instead, defendant continued driving, ignoring a stop sign at Prospect and Edgerton Streets and driving toward Newark via Park Avenue.
Johnson pursued the Taurus, joined by three to five other police vehicles with lights and sirens activated. The officer followed the Taurus onto Norfolk Street and Springfield Avenue in Newark, at which point Detective John Olivera of the East Orange Police Department joined the pursuit. Johnson was two car lengths from the Taurus and never lost sight of it. He observed defendant driving in a careless manner on the wrong side of a residential street at 50 to 60 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone.
The Taurus turned around and sped onto Route 280 east, where Olivera became the lead vehicle joined by eight other police vehicles with lights and sirens activated, including Johnson. Driving between 80 to 110 m.p.h., defendant exited Route 280 and continued on the Newark Turnpike, through Harrison and South Kearny, then over a bridge into Jersey City. Police vehicles from the Port Authority joined the pursuit with sirens and lights activated.
Defendant continued on Route 1&9 toward Newark, at one point driving around a Port Authority police vehicle stopped in the road with its lights activated. The Port Authority police then took the lead, with Olivera next in line followed by Johnson and other police vehicles. Olivera saw defendant go over a sidewalk underneath the Pulaski Skyway, strike a civilian vehicle stopped at the red light, and run the red light. Defendant continued south on Route 1&9. He attempted to make an illegal U-turn at a ...