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State v. Bowens

October 8, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHAEL A. BOWENS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 06-10-3484.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 22, 2009

Before Judges Wefing, Messano and LeWinn.

Defendant Michael A. Bowens appeals from the judgment of conviction and sentence that followed a jury trial at which he was found guilty of second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b); third-degree receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7; and fourth-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a). The trial judge granted defendant's post-verdict motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (j.n.o.v.) as to the receiving stolen property charge. He then granted the State's motion to impose a discretionary extended term, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3(a), and sentenced defendant to fifteen years in prison, with a seven and one-half year parole disqualifier on the eluding charge, and a concurrent eighteen-month sentence with a nine-month parole disqualifier on the resisting arrest charge.

On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT I

THE DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT'S EVIDENTIARY RULINGS CONCERNING THE DEFENDANT'S PRIOR CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS RESULTED IN HARMFUL ERROR.

(A)

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RULING THAT THE DEFENDANT'S PRIOR CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS WERE ADMISSIBLE TO IMPEACH CREDIBILITY.

(1)

THE DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS WERE REMOTE IN TIME.

(2)

THE PRIOR CONVICTION EVIDENCE UNDULY PREJUDICED THE JURY'S ABILITY TO FAIRLY ASSESS THE DEFENDANT'S TESTIMONY.

(B)

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RULING THAT THE DEFENDANT'S PRIOR CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS NEED NOT BE "SANITIZED."

POINT II

THE DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE PROSECUTOR VIOLATED HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION. (NOT RAISED BELOW)

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT'S JURY CHARGE WAS INADEQUATE AND PREJUDICED THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR ...


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