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State v. Nelson

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 18, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
TAMEKA NELSON, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 20, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 06-08-1379.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (William Welaj, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Gaetano T. Gregory, Acting Hudson County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Monalisa Tawfik, Special Deputy Attorney General/ Acting Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).

Before Judges Graves and Espinosa.

PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Defendant was convicted by a jury of vehicular homicide, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5(a), and leaving the scene of an accident, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1. She was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4(a). The trial court sentenced defendant to eight years imprisonment subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, on the homicide charge, and to a consecutive term of four years for leaving the scene of an accident.

Defendant filed a notice of appeal and raised the following arguments:

POINT I
THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE GRANTED A DIRECTED VERDICT AT THE CLOSE OF THE STATE'S CASE ON THE CHARGE OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE DUE TO INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT DEFENDANT ACTED RECKLESSLY BY CONSCIOUSLY DISREGARDING A SUBSTANTIAL RISK. (PARTIALLY RAISED BELOW).
POINT II
THE VERDICT OF THE JURY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SET ASIDE BY THE TRIAL COURT AS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AS THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT FACTUAL BASIS FOR FINDING THAT DEFENDANT ACTED RECKLESSLY BY CONSCIOUSLY DISREGARDING A KNOWN RISK.
POINT III
DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AS GUARANTEED BY THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ART. 1 PAR. 1 OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION WAS VIOLATED BY CONFUSING AND PREJUDICIAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS WHICH REPEATEDLY INFORMED THE ...

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