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State v. Daniels

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 23, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,


Argued October 8, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 09-08-1627.

Brian P. Keenan, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant

(Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney; Mr. Keenan, of counsel and on the brief).

Mary R. Juliano, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Juliano, of counsel and on the brief).

Appellant filed a pro se supplemental brief.

Before Judges Alvarez, Ostrer and Carroll.


In a five-count indictment, defendant Raymond Daniels and co-defendants James Fairley, Sonja Perry, and Larry Jones, were jointly charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one); and two counts of second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (counts two and three). Fairley and Perry were separately charged with second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count four); and third-degree possession of heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count five). Following a jury trial, defendant was acquitted of counts one and three, but was convicted of count two.

On September 24, 2010, the judge granted the State's motion for an extended term pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.1b, and sentenced defendant to a ten-year prison term, with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. The present appeal followed.


We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.

On the morning of January 14, 2009, a man, later identified as Fairley, entered PNC Bank in Asbury Park, approached a teller, handed her a threatening note, and demanded that she fill his backpack with all of the fifty- and one-hundred-dollar bills in her two cash drawers. The teller gave Fairley the money. After taking a few steps to leave, Fairley briefly returned to retrieve the note, then fled the bank. After the teller activated the alarm, the police responded, and collected the bank's surveillance footage.

On the morning of January 22, 2009, a man, also later identified as Fairley, entered First Atlantic Federal Credit Union (First Atlantic) in Neptune, approached a teller, set a note down on the counter, and demanded that she give him all of the ten-, twenty-, fifty-, and one-hundred-dollar bills at her station. On this occasion, upon getting the money, Fairley left the bank without retrieving the note. After the teller activated the alarm, the police responded and collected both the bank's surveillance footage and the note.

Asbury Park Detective Alastair Sweeney heard about the First Atlantic robbery over his police radio. Since the description of the suspect sounded similar to the suspect in the PNC robbery, Sweeney returned to PNC to conduct a more thorough investigation. In checking the surrounding area, he found several articles of clothing that matched the description of the clothing worn by the robbery suspect. Results of DNA testing on the clothing matched Fairley's DNA.

In the interim, on February 13, 2009, Fairley entered and robbed TD Bank North, also in Neptune. Using the surveillance footage, the police were able to identify Fairley as the robber.

On February 14, 2009, a joint investigative team, consisting of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, the Asbury Park Police Department, and the Neptune Police Department, arrested Fairley in Atlantic City, and transported him to Asbury Park for questioning. Fairley's girlfriend, Perry, agreed to accompany them. Following the administration of Miranda[1] warnings, the investigating officers confronted Fairley with evidence linking him to the robberies; however, he initially denied any involvement.

The next day, the same officers visited Fairley in his cell "to inform him of his complete charges [and] what his bail was set at." Fairley then volunteered the statements: "[D]o you think I spent all of that money by myself?" and "[Y]ou better get ready to arrest more people."

During the recorded interrogation that ensued, Fairley admitted his participation in the three robberies, and inculpated Perry, Jones, and defendant. Fairley indicated that defendant "wrote the [two] notes" for the January 14 and 22, 2009, bank robberies.[2] Regarding the note used in the January 14, 2009, PNC robbery, Fairley said: "[F]irst I wrote the note [and defendant] said man you don't write no note like that you got to scare the b[]tch you demand hundreds and fifty's [sic] let her know you've been watching her family . . . ." According to Fairley's recorded statement, Daniels wrote the note, which said something like "[h]undred's and fifty's [sic] b[]tch I've been watching you're [sic] family don't f[]ck with me." Fairley also explained that, when he returned home from the PNC robbery the next day, defendant, who had not gone along, "told [Fairley that he] had to pay [defendant] for the note so [Fairley] gave him something like seven [or] eight hundred dollars."

On February 17, 2009, the same officers conducted a recorded interrogation of defendant, which was later played at trial. During this interrogation, defendant repeatedly denied that he wrote the note used by Fairley in the January 14, 2009, PNC robbery. Defendant also stated that he communicated to Fairley that he did not want to have anything to do with robbing a bank. Defendant contended that Fairley came into his room the night before the robbery, and asked him to write the note, but that he "wouldn't write it for him because . . . [he] didn't want to get involved."

However, in his statement, defendant admitted that he "gave [Fairley] the pen and the pad, " and "told him what to write" in the holdup note. Defendant told Fairley "[m]ake sure you write no dye money, " "tell [th]em that you know everything that's going on in [their] life, " "I know where you live, " "I . . . been watching you, " and "follow the note and nobody get [sic] hurt." Defendant then admitted he was going to accompany Fairley on a robbery, "but I changed my mind." Defendant also recounted that, at Fairley's request, he let Fairley in through the front door of the rooming house when he returned from the PNC robbery.

Prior to trial, the court conducted a multi-day hearing on the defendants' various motions to suppress statements and physical evidence. On May 25, 2010, Fairley agreed to plead guilty to the three robbery charges (and some unrelated offenses), and to testify truthfully in any trial of the co-defendants, in exchange for a ten-year prison sentence, subject to eight-and-one-half years parole ineligibility. Perry similarly agreed to plead guilty and testify truthfully at her co-defendants' trials. On May 26, 2010, the court denied defendant's motion to suppress his February 17, 2009 statement.

Between July 22, 2010, and August 4, 2010, the court conducted a four-day trial. Called by the State, Fairley now testified that he wrote the demand note in defendant's room the night before the PNC robbery, using defendant's pad of paper, at which time he revealed to defendant that he was planning ...

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