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State of New Jersey v. Akiba Adams A/K/A Akiba Belton

August 1, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT.
v.
AKIBA ADAMS A/K/A AKIBA BELTON, DUPEE ADAMS, DUPREE A. ADAMS, AKIBA D. ADAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 08-11-02051.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 26, 2011

Before Judges Sabatino and C.L. Miniman.

Defendant Akiba Adams appeals from his convictions for second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; fourth-degree resisting arrest, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a; and fourth-degree obstructing justice, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1. Defendant was sentenced to ten years in prison with a five-year parole disqualifier on the second-degree offense, and was sentenced to two concurrent eighteen-month terms on the fourth-degree offenses. We affirm.

Detective Scott Rogers of the Jersey City Police Department was on duty at 1:00 a.m. on August 2, 2008, when he received information that caused him to go to a particular location on Stegman Street. He was accompanied by Detective Thomas McVicar and Officer Peter Hilburn. Upon arriving at the scene, the officers observed defendant standing in the vicinity. As they began to approach him, he removed a handgun from his waistband and ran down Stegman Street pursued by all three officers. Rogers saw him throw a gun over a fence into an adjoining yard. For some reason, defendant lost his balance and fell. He was captured by Officer Lacey, another officer who arrived at the scene. Defendant resisted arrest but was ultimately subdued. The gun was recovered from the other side of the fence and proved to be an operable .357 Magnum revolver with hollow-nosed bullets in the chamber.*fn1

At trial, although Rogers testified without elaboration that he had received information about some activity on Stegman Street, when McVicar testified in response to a question on direct examination about what attracted his attention to defendant, he said, "That is the description that we had received as part of the information ----." Defense counsel immediately objected, and the judge conducted a sidebar conference, which was not able to be transcribed. After the sidebar, the judge excused the jury and then sustained the objection. He further directed McVicar not to testify to any information he may have received or any comments about any information because it was inadmissible hearsay. When the jury returned, direct examination continued without further incident.

During the charge conference, defense counsel did not request a charge with respect to McVicar's interrupted testimony. The judge gave a general instruction on the effect of rulings on the admissibility of evidence, without specifically instructing the jury to disregard any evidence as to which an objection had been sustained. The judge also instructed the jury to disregard any testimony he had stricken, although he did not strike the objectionable portion of McVicar's testimony. The jury returned its verdict, defendant was subsequently sentenced, and this appeal followed.

Defendant raises the following issue for our consideration:

POINT I - THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN FAILING TO GIVE THE JURORS A CURATIVE CHARGE AFTER THEY HEARD INADMISSIBLE HEARSAY EVIDENCE. (Not Raised Below)

POINT II - THE DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE IS EXCESSIVE.

In his supplemental pro se brief, defendant raises these additional issues for our consideration, which we have renumbered to run consecutively with the initial points on appeal:

POINT [III] - THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO GIVE THE JURORS A CURATIVE INSTRUCTION AFTER ...


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