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State of New Jersey v. Mark Tompkins

July 16, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MARK TOMPKINS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 03-03-0893.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 10, 2012

Before Judges Sabatino and Kennedy.

Defendant Mark Tompkins, found guilty by a jury in 2004 of second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b, appeals the trial court's two February 14, 2011 orders denying his motion for a new trial and partially denying his motion to amend the judgment of conviction. We affirm.

The State's proofs at trial established that on October 24, 2002, a Pontiac driven by defendant was stopped by a Newark police officer for making an illegal U-turn. Before the officer was able to issue a summons, defendant made an obscene gesture and sped away onto Interstate 78. The officer pursued the Pontiac, which raced away at about eighty miles per hour, went down an exit ramp, and then crashed into another vehicle.

Defendant ran from the scene of the crash through the local neighborhood. He was eventually apprehended in the stairwell of an abandoned house about two blocks from the crash.

Defendant was issued various traffic summonses and was also charged with eluding. After the jury found him guilty of the eluding charge, the trial court imposed an extended-term sentence of fifteen years, with a seven-and-a-half-year period of parole ineligibility.

This is the third time that defendant has brought an appeal concerning his conviction. On direct appeal, we upheld defendant's conviction but remanded for resentencing. State v. Tompkins, No. A-5006-04 (App. Div. Dec. 8, 2006). The Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Tompkins, 189 N.J. 649 (2007). On resentencing, the same custodial term was imposed.

Defendant then filed a petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"), which the trial court denied. We affirmed the PCR denial in defendant's second appeal. State v. Tompkins, No. A- 3503-08 (App. Div. Mar. 4, 2011). Again, the Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Tompkins, 208 N.J. 338 (2011).

In the present matter, defendant sought a new trial on his eluding conviction based upon assorted claims, including: that his trial counsel allegedly had not been given copies of the traffic summonses in pre-trial discovery; that his driving abstract did not reflect any dispositions for the traffic offenses; that the summonses were flawed because they omitted appearance dates and the arresting police officer's signature; that the officer issued a false accident report; that his pre- sentence report contained no statement from the car accident victim; and that he was held before trial without proper notice of the charges against him. Defendant also requested relief based upon the fact that certain entries on his judgment of conviction were incorrect.

After considering these arguments in a motion hearing at which defendant and his assigned assistant deputy public defender appeared, Judge Robert H. Gardner denied the new trial motion. The judge found that defendant's claims all lacked merit. The judge did, however, amend the judgment of conviction to correctly reflect that the eluding conviction was based upon a jury verdict and not a guilty plea, rejecting defendant's other claims of error in the terms recited in the judgment. In his brief on the present appeal, defendant's attorney raises the following arguments:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL. A. THERE ...


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