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State v. Hodges

April 2, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CEDRICK HODGES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment Nos. 01-08-1116 and 01-08-1117; and Accusation No. 04-02-0155.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 9, 2008

Before Judges Fuentes and Gilroy.

Defendant, a minor born June 26, 1983, was charged as a juvenile with committing various acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted the crimes of first-degree aggravated assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and other related offenses. On July 31, 2001, the Family Part granted the State's motion for an involuntary waiver of jurisdiction to the Law Division, Criminal Part, N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26; R. 5:22-2.

On August 29, 2001, a Mercer County Grand Jury charged defendant under Indictment No. 01-08-1116 with eight counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (Counts One through Eight); eight counts of fourth-degree aggravated assault by pointing a handgun at or in the direction of another person, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4) (Counts Nine through Sixteen); first-degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1b (Count Seventeen); two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 (Counts Eighteen and Nineteen); third-degree terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b (Count Twenty); five counts of third-degree theft by unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 (Counts Twenty-One through Twenty-Five); eight counts of second-degree possession of a weapon (a handgun) for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 (Counts Twenty-Six through Thirty-Three); and third-degree theft by receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (Count Thirty-Four).

On the same day, defendant was also charged under Indictment No. 01-08-1117 with two counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (Counts One and Two); first-degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1b (Count Three); four counts of second-degree attempt to commit aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 and 2C:5-1 (Counts Four through Seven); two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 (Counts Eight and Nine); two counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3a (Counts Ten and Eleven); third-degree terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b (Count Twelve); two counts of third-degree theft by unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 (Counts Thirteen and Fourteen); two counts of fourth-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 (Counts Fifteen and Sixteen); two counts of second-degree possession of a weapon (a handgun) for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (Counts Seventeen and Eighteen); and third-degree theft by receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (Count Nineteen).

Defendant moved to suppress the statements he made to the police on September 8, 2000. Following an evidentiary hearing on November 21 and December 10, 2003, the trial court denied the motion.

On February 25, 2004, defendant was charged under Accusation No. 04-02-0155 with an additional count of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. On the same day, defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement and pled guilty to: Count Seventeen of Indictment No. 01-08-1116, charging him with first-degree kidnapping; Counts One and Eight of Indictment No. 01-08-1117, charging him with first-degree robbery and first-degree aggravated sexual assault, respectively; and the single count of first-degree robbery in the Accusation. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss all other charges and to recommend an aggregate sentence of twenty years, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA).*fn1

On June 4, 2004, defendant was sentenced on Count Seventeen under Indictment No. 01-08-1116 to a twenty-year term of imprisonment; on Counts One and Eight under Indictment No. 01-08-1117 to a term of twenty years of imprisonment on each conviction; and to a fifteen-year term of imprisonment on the conviction under the Accusation. All sentences are subject to an 85% period of parole ineligibility pursuant to NERA, and run concurrent to each other. The court also imposed all appropriate fines and penalties, and dismissed the remaining charges.

On appeal, defendant's counsel argues:

POINT I.

THE DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT WAS THE UNATTENUATED PRODUCT OF AN ILLEGAL ARREST, NECESSITATING SUPPRESSION. U.S. CONST., AMENDS. IV, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART. 1, PAR. 7.

POINT II.

THE COURT IMPOSED AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE, NECESSITATING REDUCTION. U.S. CONST. AMEND. XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART. 1, PAR. 10.

In a pro se supplemental brief, defendant argues:

POINT I.

DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE STATEMENT GIVEN BY THE DEFENDANT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED WHERE THE STATEMENT, (A) [WAS] THE FRUIT OF AN UNLAWFUL ENTRY AND ARREST OF A[N] UNCONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTED AREA WITHOUT A VALID WARRANT AND, (B) WHERE NO EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES OR PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTED TO ENTER THE HOME. THE COURT VIOLATED THE FOURTH AMENDMENT AND ITS EXTENSION UNDER NEW JERSEY LAW. THEREFORE ALL EVIDENCE MUST BE SUPPRESSED [DUE] TO THE ILLEGAL ENTRY AND ARREST.

POINT II.

DEFENDANT'S CONFESSION WAS THE PRODUCT OF POLICE COERCION AND THEREFORE ITS ADMISSION INTO EVIDENCE VIOLATED THE DUE PROCESS ...


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