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State of New Jersey v. Hassan Reeds

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


January 7, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
HASSAN REEDS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 06-04-1275.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 20, 2010 --

Before Judges Fuentes, Gilroy and Nugent.

Defendant Hassan Reeds was tried before a jury and convicted of third degree receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7.*fn1 The court sentenced defendant to an extended term of ten years, with five years of parole ineligibility. The court also imposed all of the mandatory fines and penalties.

Defendant and Omar Tindell were tried together before the same jury. Tindell was convicted of second degree reckless manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4b(1), as a lesser-included offense of murder, third degree receiving stolen property, third degree possession of cocaine, one count of third degree unlawful possession of a handgun, and one count of third degree terroristic threats. The jury acquitted Tindell of all other charges. Tindell also appealed his conviction. By order dated September 15, 2008, we calendared both appeals (Reeds and Tindell) back-to-back and heard oral argument as to both cases at the same time.

In State v. Tindell, ____ N.J. Super. ____ (App. Div. 2011), the companion opinion filed on January 7, 2011, we affirmed Tindell's conviction of second degree reckless manslaughter, reversed and remanded for a new trial the conviction of third degree terroristic threats, and vacated the conviction of third degree receiving stolen property and remanded for the entry of a judgment of acquittal on that charge. We also vacated the sentence imposed by the court in its entirety and remanded for re-sentencing before a different judge. Id. at ____ (slip op. at 4).

Because defendant and Tindell were tried together, we incorporate by reference the factual recitation of the evidence presented against defendant as stated in Tindell, supra, at ____ (slip op. at 4-13).

Against these facts, defendant now appeals, raising the following arguments:

POINT I

ALTHOUGH THE STATE ESTABLISHED BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT A MOTOR VEHICLE HAD BEEN STOLEN, IT FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE VEHICLE STIPULATED BY THE PARTIES TO HAVE BEEN STOLEN WAS THE SAME VEHICLE OPERATED AND/OR OCCUPIED BY THE CO-DEFENDANT AND THE DEFENDANT. AS A RESULT, THE ENSUING JURY'S VERDICT FINDING THE DEFENDANT GUILTY OF RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY EMBODIED IN COUNT VII VIOLATED THE DEFENDANT'S FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF DUE PROCESS REQUIRING THE STATE TO PROVE EACH ELEMENT OF AN OFFENSE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. (Not Raised Below)

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION FOR A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL PURSUANT TO RULE 3:18-2 WITH RESPECT TO THE CHARGE OF RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY.

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY FAILING TO SUA SPONTE INSTRUCT THE JURY WITH RESPECT TO THE LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE OF JOYRIDING ARISING OUT OF COUNT VII CHARGING RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY. (Not Raised Below)

POINT IV

THE SENTENCE IMPOSED WAS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE.

In Tindell, we held that the State did not present sufficient evidence to sustain the jury's conviction of third degree receiving stolen property in connection with the white Chrysler model 300. Id. at ____ (slip op. at 16-22). That holding and the analysis underpinning it applies with equal force to defendant. We thus remand this matter for the trial court to enter a judgment of acquittal on defendant's conviction of third degree receiving stolen property. By virtue of this holding, the remaining arguments raised by defendant are rendered moot.

Reversed and remanded.


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