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State v. Reyes

May 14, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JUAN A. REYES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 99-11-1054.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 26, 2010

Before Judges Rodríguez and Reisner.

Defendant Juan A. Reyes appeals from a December 5, 2007 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

In connection with the armed robbery of a Checkers Drive-In Restaurant in Paterson, defendant was convicted of first degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1b, and second degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. He was acquitted of unlawful possession of a weapon. Defendant was sentenced to twelve years in prison subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. We affirmed the conviction and the sentence on direct appeal. State v. Reyes, No. A-5011-01 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 178 N.J. 251 (2003).

We summarized the evidence in our opinion on defendant's direct appeal. In brief, two men robbed the Checkers restaurant at gunpoint. Shortly after the robbers fled from the premises, the store manager called 9-1-1 and activated an alarm. The police responded within a few minutes. The manager described the robbers, and the police quickly located and arrested defendant and co-defendant Adnan Manla about a block away from the restaurant. The restaurant manager was taken to the scene of the arrest and identified both men. He later also identified both defendants from photographs at the police station. The trial judge ruled at a Wade*fn1 hearing that the identification was admissible. In very detailed trial testimony, the manager described the robbery and identified the defendants as the robbers.

On his direct appeal, defendant raised the following arguments, all of which we considered and rejected as without merit:

POINT I: THE EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION WAS TAINTED AND THEREFORE THE CASE MUST BE THROWN OUT UNDER WADE.

POINT II: THE PROSECUTOR'S SUMMATION WAS IMPROPERLY PREJUDICIAL. (Not Raised Below)

POINT III: THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR THE CONVICTION.

POINT IV: THE JURY'S VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE. (NOT RAISED BELOW)

POINT V: THE COURT SHOULD HAVE SUBSTITUTED THE ALTERNATE JURORS FOR THOSE JURORS WHO ASKED TO BE EXCUSED. THE FAILURE TO DO SO PRESSURED ...


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