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State of New Jersey v. Daniel T. Christofferson

October 14, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DANIEL T. CHRISTOFFERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Indictment No. 08-07-0544.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 20, 2011

Before Judges Messano and Espinosa.

Following a jury trial, defendant Daniel T. Christofferson was found guilty of first-degree carjacking, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2(a); third-degree theft of an automobile, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10(c); two counts of second-degree aggravated assault while eluding a law enforcement officer in a stolen vehicle, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(6); and two counts of second-degree assault by auto while under the influence of alcohol and within 1000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)(3)(a). After merging the theft charge with the carjacking charge, the judge imposed a sentence of twenty years imprisonment with an 85% period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. He imposed concurrent sentences on the remaining counts of the indictment.

Defendant raises the following issues on appeal:

POINT I

THE JUDGE ERRED IN GRATUITOUSLY CHARGING THE JURY THAT IT MAY INFER CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT IF IT DETERMINED THE DEFENDANT PURPOSELY MADE FALSE STATEMENTS TO THE POLICE, AS THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT DEFENDANT MADE INTENTIONALLY FALSE STATEMENTS. . . .

POINT II

THE INSTRUCTION ON DEFENDANT'S EXERCISE OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT CREATED THE IMPRESSION THAT HE HAD AN OBLIGATION TO TESTIFY AND THUS VIOLATED HIS STATE AND FEDERAL RIGHTS TO REMAIN SILENT. . . . (Not Raised Below)

POINT III

UNDER ALL OF THE RELEVANT CIRCUMSTANCES, THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN SENTENCING THIS YOUTHFUL DEFENDANT TO AN AGGREGATE 20-YEAR TERM OF IMPRISONMENT, SUBJECT TO NERA, ON HIS FIRST CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS, BY FAILING TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES IN STATE V. ZADOYAN. . . .

In a pro se supplemental brief, defendant has raised the following additional issues:

POINT I

THE DEFENDANT'S CONFESSION WAS IMPROPERLY ADMITTED BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE DEFENDANT'S CONFESSION WAS NOT KNOWING, INTELLIGENT AND VOLUNTARY; FURTHER, THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY NOT REQUIRING RECORDATION OF THE PRE-INTERVIEW PHASE OF POLICE CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION OF THE DEFENDANT BY THE RESPONDENT PURSUANT TO SUPREME COURT RECOMMENDATION[S] IN [STATE V. COOK] AND N.J. COURT [RULE] 3:17 ET SEQ.

POINT II

A MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE IN THIS MATTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENTERED AND GRANTED

POINT III

THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE AND COUNSEL[']S AND DEFENDANT DANIEL CHRISTOFFERSON['S] MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL AND OR FOR ...


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