Possession of a Weapon and Consecutive Sentences (Part 2)

by | Oct 29, 2019 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County, Weapons Charge

Justice Patterson continued in relevant part: The court determined that the crimes committed by defendant on February 28, 2011, March 3, 2011, and March 29, 2011 were “independent of each other,” their objectives on each date “involved separate acts of violence or threats of violence,” and “they were committed at different times and places.”

The evidence supported the court’s findings that the crimes committed in each criminal episode were independent of one another, that the objectives of those crimes were distinct from one another, that they involved separate acts of violence or threats of violence, and that they were committed at different times and in different locations. See State v. Cassady (2009) (upholding the imposition of consecutive sentences based on the trial court’s determination that the criminal episodes were independent of one another and stressing that “the sentencing court faithfully paired the Yarbough factors with the facts as found by the jury”); State v. Ghertler (1989) (reviewing the reasons advanced in imposing consecutive sentences and holding that “the court’s exercise of discretion to impose consecutive sentences was supported by a separate statement of reasons”).

The court’s analysis upon imposing a consecutive sentence for the first-degree kidnapping of the fourteen-year-old victim during the February 28, 2011 incident also satisfied Yarbough. That sentence was made consecutive to the sentences for the other first-degree kidnappings and other crimes defendant committed during that incident. As the trial court found, the child and her sister were kidnapped approximately one hour before the first-degree kidnapping of her father and the third-degree criminal restraint of her mother. It was clearly within the trial court’s discretion to impose a sentence for her kidnapping that was consecutive to defendant’s sentence for the other crimes committed on that date.

Here, the Court strains to apply weight to the “separate incident” factor. It also double counts the “separate victim” factor, at least in part.