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State v. Steele

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

September 27, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
YUSEF STEELE, a/k/a STEELE YUSEF, a/k/a STEELE YUSIF, Defendant-Appellant

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 9, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 08-10-1809.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Michele A. Adubato, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Deborah Bartolomey, Deputy Attorney General, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Harris and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Tried to a jury, defendant Yusef Steele appeals from his conviction for third-degree possession of heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count one); third-degree distribution of heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(3) (count two); second-degree distribution of heroin on or near a public museum, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (count four); third-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(3) (count five); third-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute on or near school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (count six); second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute on or near a public housing facility, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (count seven); and fourth-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(2) (count eight).

On August 23, 2010, the court merged counts one, five, and six with count seven and sentenced defendant to an extended term of five years with parole ineligibility for three years. The judge then merged count two with count four and imposed a seven-year term with three years of parole ineligibility to run consecutive to count seven. Finally, the judge imposed an eighteen-month sentence on count eight to run concurrent with the other counts. On September 3, 2010, the judge corrected her prior sentence and re-sentenced defendant to nine years with three years of parole ineligibility on count seven. The rest of the sentence remained the same.

On appeal, appellant raises the following arguments:

POINT I
THE CUSTODIAL STATEMENT ALLEGEDLY MADE BY DEFENDANT AT THE HOSPITAL VIOLATED DEFENDANT'S FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUPPRESSED.
POINT II
THE DEFENDANT'S PRE-TRIAL MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT TEN WITNESS TAMPERING SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED BY THE COURT.
POINT III
THE COURT'S INSTRUCTION TO THE JURY DURING VOIR DIRE DILUTED THE STATE'S BURDEN OF PROOF AND DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF A FAIR TRIAL.
POINT IV
THE CONSECUTIVE SENTENCE IMPOSED UPON DEFENDANT WAS EXCESSIVE AND SHOULD BE MODIFIED AND ...

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