On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 10-08-2022.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 27, 2012
Before Judges Grall and Alvarez.
A jury found defendant Jahmal McNeil guilty of second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b. The judge sentenced him to a ten-year term of imprisonment with a five-year term of parole ineligibility, and imposed the appropriate fines, penalties and assessments.*fn1 Defendant appeals. He contends that his sentence is excessive and claims the trial court committed four other errors warranting reversal of his conviction. Specifically, he argues:
I. THE COURT ERRED BY ADMITTING 404(b) EVIDENCE WITHOUT A HEARING. (Not raised below).
II. INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE INFORMANT CONSTITUTED INADMISSIBLE HEARSAY. (Not raised below).
III. THE COURT FAILED TO PROVIDE PROPER LIMITING TO INSTRUCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO ITS ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE REGARDING PRIOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. (Not raised below).
IV. THE COURT ERRED BY NOT INSTRUCTING THE JURORS THAT THEY WERE ENTITLED TO A READ BACK OF THE WITNESS'S TESTIMONY. (Not raised below).
V. DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE WAS EXCESSIVE.
During the early morning hours of June 23, 2010, Detectives Christopher Smith and Robert O'Neil of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office were on duty but not in uniform.
They were riding in an unmarked vehicle that was equipped with emergency lights and a siren.
The detectives had "information about a specific vehicle possibly being connected to illegal activity." The car was "a 2010, a new, black, Chevy Camaro." They did not have a license plate number. At about 3:30 a.m., they saw a Black Camaro driving toward them on South 13th Street in Newark. The detectives were traveling on the two-lane street in the opposite direction, and the cars passed one another. There was one person in the Camaro, and Detective Smith recognized him as defendant. He knew defendant and others from the community from having worked in the area, but they had not had any personal interactions prior to June 23.
Although the detectives did not know whether defendant was driving the Camaro referenced in the tip they had received, they turned and followed it, trying to close the distance and get a license plate number. Defendant accelerated suddenly, made a right turn at a stop street without stopping and headed west. After seeing defendant fail to stop, the detectives followed, used the ...