On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 07-10-1570.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Parrillo and Hoffman.
Tried by a jury, defendant Jon Moore was convicted of second-degree certain persons not to have weapons, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7b. He was sentenced to a five-year term with a mandatory five-year parole bar. Id. Defendant appeals and we affirm.
The facts of defendant's predicate conviction and possession of a gun are undisputed. While at Johnson Park in Piscataway at 6:40 p.m. on July 10, 2007, defendant called 9-1-1 and informed the dispatcher that he was going to kill himself. During the six-minute conversation, in which he appeared very calm, defendant identified himself, gave his address, mentioned his prior treatment at a mental health facility, advised he had a loaded gun in his backpack, and described his exact location in the park, near a river. While defendant remained on the phone, police were dispatched to the scene, where they found defendant, cell phone in his hand, still in communication with the dispatcher, who was able to hear the police sirens. After being handcuffed, defendant directed the officer to a backpack on a bench about twenty to thirty feet away. Inside, the officer found a small, black, semi-automatic gun with one bullet in its chamber and a magazine clip, also with one bullet. The ammunition was .380 rounds and the gun was operable. Defendant was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and later released to the Acute Psychiatric Services Unit of University Hospital.
At trial, defendant introduced Dr. Mark Siegert, an expert in forensic psychology, who opined that defendant was insane at the time of the incident. In rebuttal, the State offered Dr. Howard Gilman, an expert in forensic psychiatry, who reached the opposite conclusion, finding that defendant was malingering his symptoms.
At the close of evidence, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal, Rule 3:18-1, which was denied by the trial judge, who found the issue of defendant's mental state was for the jury to decide. Crediting the State's proofs, the jury convicted defendant of the weapons offense. Thereafter, defendant moved for a new trial, arguing the jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the relief, finding the verdict did not amount to a manifest denial of justice.
On appeal, defendant, through counsel, argues:
I. IT WAS ERROR TO DENY DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL.
II. DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION BY THE GROSS FAILURE OF THE STATE TO CONDUCT A COMPETENT INVESTIGATION, THE RESULTS OF WHICH COULD WELL HAVE VINDICATED APPELLANT.
Defendant, pro se, raises an additional issue and rephrases others:
I. COUNSEL['S] FAILURE TO FILE DEFENDANT'S MERITORIOUS NOTICE OF APPEAL IS INEFFECTIVE AND INADEQUATE REPRESENTATION.
II. MULTIPLE ACTS OF PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT, UNCORRECTED BY TRIAL COURT, DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR ...