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State v. Alston

January 21, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RAHJAN ALSTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 00-09-1070.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 4, 2010

Before Judges Reisner and Yannotti.

Defendant Rahjan Alston appeals from an order dated August 2, 2007 denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

These are the most pertinent facts. Two young men, Wayne Couey and defendant's brother Rasu Lee, had gotten into a series of altercations and fights in April and May 2000. On May 26, 2000, defendant, who was seventeen years old, was with Lee when a car carrying Couey and Antoine Mouzone drove by them. Defendant fired a gun at the car, killing Mouzone. In a statement to the police, taken in the presence of defendant's mother, defendant admitted firing at the victims' car. However, he claimed he did so because he thought one of the passengers "had something in his hand" and he was "scared and started shooting."

At the trial, defendant raised a claim of self-defense. The jury acquitted defendant of murder, but convicted him of aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a, aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), and associated weapons offenses. He received an aggregate twenty-year sentence subject to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. On his direct appeal, defendant raised the following issues, including a challenge to his confession:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE DEFENDANT VOLUNTARILY WAIVED HIS MIRANDA RIGHTS.

POINT II

THE VERDICT IS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND THE DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO A NEW TRIAL (Not Raised Below).

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY DENYING THE MOTION FOR A ...


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