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State v. Harris

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 23, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GOLDA HARRIS, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 30, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hunterdon County, Indictment No. 10-05-0189.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Kimmo Z.H. Abbasi, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Anthony P. Kearns, III, Hunterdon County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Jeffrey L. Weinstein, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Hayden and Hoffman.

PER CURIAM

Defendant Golda Harris appeals from her August 12, 2011 judgment of conviction and sentence. In March 2010, a Hunterdon County Grand Jury charged defendant, who was an inmate at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility (EMCF) at the time of the incident, with: third-degree terroristic threats against Vicki Hartman (count one) and against Laleetha Holland (count two), N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3; fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at certain law enforcement officers, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-13 (count three); and fourth-degree harassment against Hartman (count four) and against Holland (count five), N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(a). A jury convicted defendant of counts one, four, and five, and acquitted her of the two remaining counts. The trial judge sentenced defendant to four years imprisonment on count one and concurrent one-year terms on counts four and five with the sentences to run consecutive to her current sentence.

On appeal, defendant argues that:

POINT I: THE JURY VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND RESULTED IN A MANIFEST DENIAL OF JUSTICE TO HARRIS.
POINT II: THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN DENYING HARRIS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT RELEVANT EVIDENCE.
POINT III: THE SENTENCE IMPOSED ON HARRIS'S CONVICTION WAS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE AND CONSTITUTED AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION.

Having considered defendant's arguments in light of the applicable legal principles, we affirm.

We discern the following facts from the record. On September 2, 2009, Vicki Hartman, a licensed practical nurse employed at the EMCF, dispensed medication to inmates in the Administration Segregation ("Ad Seg") section of the facility, a specialized unit where inmates are housed for disciplinary reasons in single cells. Upon reaching defendant's cell, John Reynolds, a senior corrections officer accompanying Hartman on her rounds, unlocked the food port in defendant's cell door to enable Hartman to dispense medications to her. Defendant spoke softly to Hartman through the open port. When Hartman moved ...


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