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State v. Martin

April 29, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RAYMOND R. MARTIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, No. 05-06-00501-I.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 17, 2009

Before Judges Wefing and Yannotti.

Tried to a jury, defendant was convicted of three counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(3), and one count of resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a), all crimes of the third degree. The trial court sentenced defendant to three years in prison. Defendant has appealed. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we reverse.

Defendant's trial was brief. Detective Christopher Shearer of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office engaged in three undercover narcotics transactions. The last two transactions took place in the parking lot of Rhythms, a bar and restaurant located in Manville. The final sale was monitored by a number of officers, who were stationed in unmarked vehicles at various nearby points. At the conclusion of that sale, Detective Shearer gave a signal to those officers; he drove off and the remaining officers closed in, identifying themselves as police. Defendant tried to run away but was subdued and arrested after a brief struggle. Detective Shearer identified defendant as the individual who sold narcotics to him and several of the officers involved in arresting defendant also testified.

Defendant raises the following issues for our consideration:

POINT ONE

THE TRIAL COURT DENIED DEFENDANT HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO TESTIFY BY FAILING TO SUFFICIENTLY INQUIRE AS TO WHETHER DEFENDANT HAD KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO TESTIFY.

POINT TWO

THE TRIAL COURT DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO TESTIFY BY REFUSING TO ALLOW DEFENDANT AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONSULT WITH HIS FAMILY BEFORE DECIDING WHETHER TO WAIVE HIS RIGHT TO TESTIFY.

POINT THREE

DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL DUE TO TRIAL COUNSEL'S FAILURE TO AGAIN REQUEST THAT DEFENDANT BE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY ON HIS OWN BEHALF AFTER THE TRIAL COURT HAD PREVIOUSLY ...


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