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State v. Godwin

September 3, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DAZHON GODWIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 05-04-0480.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 18, 2008

Before Judges Skillman and Graves.

In a two-count indictment, defendant was charged with second-degree eluding on August 12, 2004, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b) (count one), and fourth-degree possession of a prohibited weapon, a switchblade knife, on August 19, 2004, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(e) (count two). Defendant was also charged with nine motor vehicle offenses on August 12, 2004,*fn1 and four motor vehicle offenses on August 19, 2004.*fn2

During the jury trial on the indictable offenses, the court and counsel discussed how the motor vehicle charges would be handled. Citing State v. Dixon, 346 N.J. Super. 126 (App. Div. 2001), certif. denied, 172 N.J. 181 (2002), the court determined that all of the charges would "be tried in one forum," with the jury rendering a verdict on the indictable offenses and the judge deciding whether defendant was guilty of the motor vehicle charges. On February 21, 2006, the jury acquitted defendant of eluding, but convicted him of fourth-degree possession of a weapon. Thereafter, defendant moved to dismiss the motor vehicle summonses alleging violations on August 12, 2004, based on double jeopardy or collateral estoppel principles. On June 2, 2006, the trial court denied the motion, finding that "defendant was the person who operated the vehicle" on August 12, 2004, and the court found defendant guilty of each motor vehicle offense except the unsafe vehicle charge. On October 6, 2006, defendant was sentenced to six-months probation on count two, and fines were imposed for the motor vehicle violations.

On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:

POINT I

MR. GODWIN'S PROSECUTION AND CONVICTION ON SEVEN MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENSES WERE BARRED BY NEW JERSEY PROHIBITIONS AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY, N.J. CONST. ART. I, PARA. 11.

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY DENYING MR. GODWIN'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE KNIFE.

POINT III

THE PROSECUTOR'S REJECTION OF MR. GODWIN'S APPLICATION TO THE PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM WAS A PATENT AND GROSS ABUSE OF DISCRETION BECAUSE IT WAS BASED ON ...


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