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State of New Jersey v. Amanda Wright-Stafford

May 3, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
AMANDA WRIGHT-STAFFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 08-05-01556.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued December 14, 2010

Before Judges Wefing, Payne and Baxter.

Defendant, Amanda Wright-Stafford, appeals from a judgment against her for third-degree insurance fraud, N.J.S.A. 2C:2 4.6, as a lesser-included offense within second-degree insurance fraud. The conviction arose from the discovery of her 2000 Honda Passport SUV, on fire, in East Orange at 10:00 p.m. on October 3, 2006, and statements made by defendant in connection with the investigation of the fire and defendant's subsequent claim for insurance proceeds. On appeal, defendant raises the following issues for our consideration:

POINT I

THE LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE OF THIRD DEGREE INSURANCE FRAUD IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY DUPLICITOUS.

POINT II

MRS. STAFFORD WAS CONVICTED OF A CRIME NOT CHARGED IN THE INDICTMENT.

POINT III

THE VERDICT WAS NOT UNANIMOUS.

POINT IV

COUNT THREE OF THE INDICTMENT IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY DEFICIENT BECAUSE THE ELEMENTS OF SECOND DEGREE INSURANCE FRAUD ARE NOT ALLEGED THEREIN AND WERE NOT PRESENTED TO THE GRAND JURY.

POINT V

THE CONVICTION MUST BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE INDICTMENT WAS BASED UPON FALSE TESTIMONY PRESENTED BY THE STATE TO THE GRAND JURY.

POINT VI

THE CONVICTION MUST BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE STATE FAILED TO PRESENT EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE TO THE GRAND JURY; FAILED TO CURE NERO'S FALSE TESTIMONY; AND FAILED TO PROPERLY INSTRUCT THE GRAND JURY WITH THE LAW.

POINT VII

THIRD DEGREE INSURANCE FRAUD, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6, IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY DEFICIENT BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE DOES NOT STATE IN THE STATUTE THAT THE FALSE STATEMENT MUST BE SUBMITTED IN A FALSE INSURANCE CLAIM.

POINT VIII

THE TRIAL COURT'S JURY INSTRUCTIONS WERE ERRONEOUS.

POINT IX

THE TRIAL COURT WAS REQUIRED TO GIVE A LIMITING INSTRUCTION, SUA SPONTE, FOR THE JURY NOT TO CONSIDER ALLEGATIONS OF THIRD DEGREE INSURANCE FRAUD THAT WERE NOT CHARGED IN THE INDICTMENT.

POINT X

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY EXCLUDING EVIDENCE THAT GEORGE NAPOLEON HAD MOTIVE AND OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL THE MOTOR VEHICLE AND BURN THE MOTOR VEHICLE A SHORT DISTANCE FROM HIS HOME.

POINT XI

MRS. STAFFORD WAS DEPRIVED [OF] EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL IN THAT DEFENSE COUNSEL WAS UNFIT TO PRACTICE LAW; THERE WAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WITH THE STATE AND DEFENSE COUNSEL; AND DEFENSE COUNSEL'S UNPROFESSIONAL ...


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