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State of New Jersey v. Dennis Kerrigan

October 14, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DENNIS KERRIGAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 08-02-0187.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 13, 2011

Before Judges Messano and Espinosa.

Defendant Dennis Kerrigan appeals from the judgment of conviction entered after a jury trial at which he was convicted of fourth-degree stalking, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10(b). The jury acquitted defendant of fourth-degree criminal coercion, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5(a)(7).*fn1 Defendant was sentenced to two years probation.

Defendant raises the following points on appeal:

POINT ONE

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL BECAUSE THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT DEFENDANT ENGAGED IN A COURSE OF CONDUCT THAT WOULD CAUSE A REASONABLE PERSON IN THE VICTIM'S POSITION TO FEAR BODILY INJURY.

POINT TWO

PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. (Not Raised Below)

We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.

Judy Ritter was a resident of Lawrence Square, the housing complex where defendant also lived, and a member of the condominium association board. Beginning in 2004, she came to know defendant from attending the association meetings, where, as a board member, Ritter dealt with issues regarding the management of the property. Defendant "was always very voiceful," "wanted to control the whole meeting," and was "very loud." The board president would tell defendant "to calm down," but defendant "wanted to keep going." Defendant "[w]ould not stop screaming." Ritter acknowledged that on a number of occasions, defendant "got in someone's face," while "exhibiting aggressive behavior."

Ritter saw defendant act this way toward Phyllis Scherer, the property manager hired by the association, whose office was in the property's clubhouse. In the summer of 2006, on several occasions while she was talking with Scherer, Ritter observed defendant "pull up [in his van], pull up, stop, stare . . . with this grin, [and] leave." This "bother[ed]" Scherer.

On September 18, 2006, Ritter saw defendant drive his van into the clubhouse parking lot, park, but remain in the vehicle. She had seen defendant act similarly on several prior occasions. On this day, Ritter returned to her home, got her camera, and took a photo of defendant in his vehicle. Ritter saw Scherer exit the building and go to her car. Scherer was frightened, and called another board member, Joe Carol, over to her vehicle. Eventually, the ...


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