November 9, 2011
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
DAVID W. HILL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Indictment No. 09-01-0090.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 25, 2011
Before Judges Fisher and Baxter.
Defendant was charged, and convicted at the conclusion of a jury trial, of third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12- 1(b)(7), and third-degree making threats to kill, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(b). The convictions were merged for sentencing purposes, and the trial judge imposed a five-year prison term as well as other penalties.
Defendant appealed, making the following arguments:
I. THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRONEOUSLY RULED THAT MR. HILL'S TEN YEAR OLD PRIOR CONVICTIONS COULD BE INTRODUCED BY THE STATE TO IMPEACH MR. HILL'S CREDIBILITY IF MR. HILL TESTIFIED IN HIS OWN DEFENSE.
A. At the 2010 trial, the trial judge erroneously concluded that Mr. Hill's 2000 convictions were not so remote as to preclude the State from using it to impeach Mr. Hill if he testified.
II. THE TRIAL COURT IMPOSED AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE, NECESSITATING REDUCTION.
We find insufficient merit in these arguments to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We add only the following brief comments regarding Point I. At trial, the judge considered at a Sands*fn1 hearing whether defendant's prior indictable convictions could be used by the State to impeach his credibility if he testified. The specific prior convictions were for fourth-degree aggravated assault and third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and both occurred in 2000, eight years prior to the offending conduct here and ten years prior to the trial in this action. These convictions were not so remote in time as to convince us that the judge abused his discretion in determining that they were available for use by the State if defendant chose to testify, particularly in light of the intervening convictions for hindering apprehension in 2006, making harassing communications in 2007, and hindering apprehension in 2008.