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State v. Stephens

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 28, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ALMERTIS STEPHENS, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 6, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 09-07-0684.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Susan Remis Silver, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, of counsel and on the brief).

Robert D. Bernardi, Burlington County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Bethany L. Deal, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Simonelli and Koblitz.

PER CURIAM

Defendant Almertis Stephens appeals from his conviction for second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b. We reverse defendant's conviction and remand. The judgment of conviction (JOC) must be amended to reflect a conviction for third-degree eluding in conformity with the jury's verdict as modified, and defendant must be re-sentenced accordingly.

Defendant was charged with first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a(2); third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d; fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d; and second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b. A jury found defendant guilty of second-degree eluding, and acquitted him on the other counts.

On appeal, defendant raises the following contentions:

POINT I
THE JURY HAD INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO FIND SECOND-DEGREE ELUDING BASED ON DEFENDANT'S CONDUCT IN NEW JERSEY.
POINT II
THE COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO INSTRUCT THE JURY ON THE ELEMENT OF TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION IN ITS INITIAL CHARGE, AND THE COURT COMPOUNDED THIS ERROR BY INARTFULLY ADDRESSING THE JURISDICTIONAL ELEMENT AFTER THE JURY RAISED THE ISSUE IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION. THUS, THE COURT'S OVERALL CHARGE ON THIS ELEMENT ...

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