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State of New Jersey v. Karriem J. Able

February 23, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KARRIEM J. ABLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 08-06-1835.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 26, 2011

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Fasciale.

Defendant appeals his conviction, following a jury trial, for second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b), and the ten-year custodial sentence imposed. We affirm.

On appeal, defendant raises the following points for our

consideration:

POINT I

THE COURT IMPROPERLY DENIED DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO ADMIT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S POLICY ON AUTO PURSUIT AS AN EXHIBIT, DESPITE TESTIMONY THAT PURSUIT OF MR. ABLE VIOLATED THAT POLICY AND A JURY QUESTION ABOUT THE MATTER. MR. ABLE WAS THEREBY DENIED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS AND A FAIR TRIAL. U.S. CONST. AMENDS. VI, IV; N.J. CONST. ART. I, ¶¶ 1, 9, 10.

POINT II

UNDER ALL OF THE RELEVANT CIRCUMSTANCES, THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN SENTENCING MR. ABLE TO A [TEN]-YEAR TERM OF IMPRISONMENT, BY GIVING UNDUE WEIGHT TO HIS PRIOR RECORD AND FAILING TO APPLY APPLICABLE MITIGATING FACTORS.

The record discloses that defendant was observed seated in the driver's seat of a double-parked vehicle on a local street in Bloomfield. When a police van approached it from the opposite direction, defendant started to back his vehicle into an intersection and the siren and overhead lights of the police van were turned on. Defendant did not stop and a pursuit ensued. Defendant was convicted on one count of second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b) (count one), and fourth-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a) (count two).*fn1 He pled not guilty to the charges and the matter proceeded to trial.

During the trial, defense counsel questioned the officer who pursued defendant regarding the New Jersey Police Vehicular Pursuit Policy*fn2 (AG Guidelines), which had been adopted by the Bloomfield Police Department. On redirect examination, portions of the AG Guidelines, specifically, "Deciding Whether to Pursue" and "Authorization to Pursue," were read into the record without objection. At the conclusion of the State's case, defense counsel moved to introduce the AG Guidelines. The State objected, arguing that not everything contained in the AG Guidelines was pertinent. Although defense counsel agreed that there was a "substantial portion" of the AG Guidelines that "[did] not relate to this particular case[,]" he nonetheless sought the introduction of the entire document "because they have an overall picture directive as to pursuit."

The trial court denied the application, finding that admitting the document had the capacity to confuse the jury "since [ninety-nine] percent of them are not relevant to this case, and have not been testified to, either to their purpose or the meaning of them. And [the witness] read in the ...


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