On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 07-10-1759.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted June 6, 2012 --
Before Judges J. N. Harris and Koblitz.
Defendant Jazier Cedeno appeals from a September 9, 2008 conviction for receiving stolen property. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. He argues that he was denied a fair trial by various rulings by the trial judge, the jury charge and the prosecutor's comment in summation. He also maintains that his sentence to the discretionary extended term of eight years with a four-year term of parole ineligibility, imposed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3(a), was excessive. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.
A Hudson County grand jury indicted defendant*fn1 and
his co-defendant, Swain Mosley, for third-degree theft by receiving a
stolen 1994 green Ford automobile belonging to Hector Motino on June
6, 2007 (count one). N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. They were also indicted for
third-degree burglary into the same car on June 5, 2007 (count two),
N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, and third-degree theft of that car on June 5, 2007
(count three). Both defendants were found guilty of count one,
third-degree receiving stolen property worth over $500,*fn2
and not guilty of the remaining two counts.
Motino, the owner of the car, testified at trial with the assistance of a Spanish interpreter that he was making deliveries in Fairview in his green Ford Explorer. When he returned to his car, he saw a "lean or skinny" man with "tattoos" on his forearms driving his car away. He also saw the co-defendant in the area. When asked if he saw "the man who took your car" in the courtroom, Motino said no. At this point, the judge denied the State's request for defendant to display his tattoos.
The following day, Motino was making deliveries in a different car in West New York when he saw his green Ford Explorer. He saw two men get into his Explorer. He said he recognized the driver as the man from the prior day by his tattoos. Motino identified defendant in court as the driver. Upon the prosecutor's second request, the judge directed defendant to roll up his sleeves to reveal the tattoos on his forearms. Motino then testified that defendant drove off in the Explorer with Mosley as a passenger, at which time Motino called the police. Motino said the police took him to see the two co-defendants later that day at the arrest scene, where he identified them.
Two West New York police officers testified to stopping the Explorer while it was being driven by defendant. One officer also testified that Motino identified defendant at the scene of the arrest as the man he saw with tattoos on his forearms driving the car earlier that day and driving off with his car the day before.
Defendant did not testify.
On appeal defendant raises the following arguments:
POINT I: THE IDENTIFICATION OF DEFENDANT PERMITTED BEFORE THE JURY VIOLATED DEFENDANT'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS UNDER THE UNITED STATES AND NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONS. POINT II: THE TRIAL COURT'S JURY CHARGES WERE DEFICIENT AND CUMULATIVELY CAUSED DEFENDANT AN UNFAIR TRIAL.
POINT III: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR ACQUITTAL SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED.
POINT IV: IMPROPER COMMENT BY THE PROSECUTOR CAUSED AN UNFAIR ...