On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, 04-5-2164-I.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 27, 2009
Before Judges Winkelstein and Fuentes.
On May 28, 2004, an Essex County Grand Jury indicted defendant, Kevin Hughes, charging him with a single count of second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. Following a trial in November 2005, a jury convicted defendant of the charged offense. The court imposed a seven-year prison term with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.
On appeal, defendant raises the following legal arguments:
THE ADMISSION IN EVIDENCE OF HEARSAY TESTIMONY THAT THE SECURITY OFFICER TOLD THE VICTIM THAT THE MAN LIVING IN ROOM 625 WAS THE PERSON WHO "ROBBED" HIM, VIOLATED THE DEFENDANT'S FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO CONFRONTATION, DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. U.S. CONST. (1947), ART. 1, PARS. 1, 9 AND 10. (Not Raised Below).
THE SENTENCE IMPOSED WAS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE, UNDULY PUNITIVE AND NOT IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE CODE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on September 19, 2003, Larry Coleman, who lived at the Riviera Hotel in Newark, returned to the hotel and took the elevator to go to his room on the seventh floor. As the elevator door closed, another man, later identified as defendant, rushed in and took a handkerchief and held it up near his chin. When Coleman got out of the elevator on the seventh floor, so did defendant, who remarked to Coleman that he was "going down the hall to see a friend." Coleman described what happened next:
I turned and went towards my room. While I was at my room, I was fiddling in my pocket for the key to put in the door. As I was doing that, [defendant] brushed past me . . . .
And as I turned, [defendant] was coming past me and just knocked me out. I remember . . . feeling pain, thinking to myself: Ouch, this hurts, this is wrong. And I don't know whether I got hit again or not but . . . I woke up with a lady standing over me ...