NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted May 15, 2013.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 08-04-0502.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Adam W. Toraya, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Camelia M. Valdes, Passaic County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Keith E. Hoffman, Senior Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).
Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Haas.
Tried before a jury on a five-count indictment, defendant Melvin Rainey was convicted of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a (count one); second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1 (count two); third-degree endangering an impaired or helpless person, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.2 (count three); third-degree hindering, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(1) (count four); and fourth-degree tampering with evidence, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-6(1) (count five).
At sentencing, Judge Salem Ahto merged count three into count one and count five into count four. The judge sentenced defendant to twenty years in prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, on count one. He sentenced defendant as if count two had been a third-degree offense to four years in prison, with this sentence to run consecutive to the sentence imposed on count one. Finally, the judge sentenced defendant to a concurrent three-year prison term on count four. The judge also ordered defendant to pay appropriate fines and penalties.
On appeal, defendant has raised the following contentions:
DR. HUA'S TESTIMONY THAT THE VICTIM IN THIS CASE WOULD HAVE LIVED IF SHE HAD BEEN TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT EXCEEDED THE SCOPE OF PERMISSIBLE FORENSIC EXPERT TESTIMONY AND IMPROPERLY ADDRESSED THE ULTIMATE ISSUE BEFORE THE JURY, THUS DEPRIVING DEFENDANT OF A FAIR TRIAL AND REQUIRING REVERSAL OF HIS CONVICTION.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO SUPPRESS THE ALLEGED STATEMENT OF THE DEFENDANT GIVEN PRIOR TO MIRANDA WARNINGS AND TAINTED STATEMENTS THAT FOLLOWED THE NEXT DAY.
THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT ...