February 10, 2011



A-5457-07T4 01-07-11

Defendant was charged, inter alia, with the murder of a

police officer in the line of duty. He was convicted after a

jury trial of second degree reckless manslaughter as a lesser

included offense of murder, third degree receiving stolen

property, third degree possession of cocaine, third degree

unlawful possession of a handgun, and third degree terroristic

threats. The court sentenced defendant to the maximum sentence

on each offense and ordered that each term be served consecutive

to each other, resulting in an aggregate sentence of thirty

years, with eighteen and one-half years of parole ineligibility.

We affirm defendant's conviction except for third degree

terroristic threats and third degree receiving stolen property.

On the charge of terroristic threats, we hold that because

the evidence demonstrated that the alleged threats were directed

at multiple possible victims, the trial court erred in failing

to instruct the jury that the State needed to identify the

particular victim or victims of the crime. The court's

instructions left the jury unacceptably vulnerable to reaching a

fragmented verdict, without the unanimous agreement of all

twelve jurors.

On the charge of receiving stolen property, we vacate the

conviction and remand for the entry of a judgment of acquittal

because the State failed to present specific evidence that the

automobile found in defendant's possession was in fact stolen.

Applying the bedrock principles articulated in State v.

Roth, we vacate in its entirety the sentence imposed by the

court and remand for re-sentencing before a different judge

because the sentence was irreparably tainted by the improper

comments made by the judge at the sentencing hearing attacking

the jurors' character and independence and questioning the

credibility of a police officer witness using sarcastic and

inappropriate language.

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