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State v. Santos

November 9, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RENATO SANTOS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 02-09-1247.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 25, 2010

Before Judges Reisner and Sabatino.

Defendant Renato Santos appeals from a January 28, 2009 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

In connection with the shooting death of Rashon "Jamal" Roy, defendant was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3; second-degree conspiracy to commit murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2; and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. He was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment, to be served without parole, plus a concurrent ten-year term for the weapons conviction. On defendant's direct appeal, we affirmed his conviction but remanded to require merger of the weapons conviction into the murder conviction and vacation of the associated ten-year concurrent sentence. State v. Santos, No. A-0065-04 (App. Div. Dec. 22, 2006), certif. denied, 190 N.J. 396 (2007).

In order to place the appellate issues in context, our opinion on direct appeal addressed the trial evidence in great detail. That discussion need not be repeated here. To summarize, the State presented evidence that defendant, Gregory Maples, and Roy were associated in a business, the nature of which was not disclosed to the jury. On April 25, 2002, while on a trip to Yonkers, New York with Roy, Marvin L. Worthy, defendant, and several other men, Maples accused Roy of trying to have him killed. According to eyewitness testimony, defendant and Worthy pointed guns at Roy and Roy's brother, Halim Shabazz, but did not shoot them.

However, Maples continued to suspect Roy of treachery, and at his direction on April 28, 2002, Santos and Worthy shot Roy outside an apartment complex in Lakewood, New Jersey. After the police apprehended defendant, he gave two separate confessions in which he admitted shooting Roy. A co-defendant named Ernesto Barber, who was present at the shooting, entered into a plea agreement*fn1 and gave trial testimony implicating defendant, Worthy and Maples in the shooting. Defendant's fingerprints were found in the vehicle in which the shooting occurred.

On his direct appeal, defendant filed a brief through counsel and filed a separate pro se brief. His counsel's brief raised the following issues:

POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING SUPPRESSION OF THE DEFENDANT'S INCULPATORY STATEMENTS, BECAUSE THEY WERE THE UNATTENUATED PRODUCT OF AN ILLEGAL ARREST, AND INVOLUNTARY UNDER THE TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

A. The Trial Court Erred In Its Determination Of Credibility

B. The Defendant Was Arrested Without Probable Cause, And His Inculpatory Statement Was The Unattenuated Result Of The Illegal Arrest. U.S. Const., Amends. IV, XIV; N.J. Cont. (1947), Art. 1, Par 7.

C. The Purported Confession Was Also The Result Of An Overbearing Of The Defendant's Will, And Accordingly Must Be Suppressed.

POINT II: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO DEFENDANT'S PREJUDICE IN REFUSING TO DELIVER A "FALSE IN ONE, FALSE IN ALL" CHARGE.

POINT III: THE STATE COMMITTED MISCONDUCT DURING ITS SUMMATION, NECESSITATING REVERSAL. (Not Raised Below).

POINT IV: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO DEFENDANT'S PREJUDICE BY CHARGING LESSER-INCLUDED ...


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