January 8, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JOHN J. LAWLESS, JR. A-2064-10T3

STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JOHN J. LAWLESS, JR. A-2064-10T3

Defendant pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter and

driving while intoxicated. After consuming a large amount of

beer, defendant fell asleep at the wheel of his car, crossed the

center line of the road and collided with an on-coming car,

killing the driver and causing serious injuries to the

passengers. Citing aggravating factors two (the gravity and

seriousness of the harm inflicted), three (the risk that

defendant will commit another offense), six (the extent of

defendant's prior criminal record), and nine (the need for

specific and general deterrence), the judge imposed a thirtyyear

term of imprisonment for the aggravated manslaughter

charge.

We held that the record did not support reliance on

aggravating factor two because defendant pled guilty to only one

charge involving one victim; therefore, the judge could not rely

on the injuries suffered by other victims of the collision. We

also held that the judge could not rely on multiple prior

driving while intoxicated convictions because these charges are

not considered crimes. We remanded for reconsideration of the

sentence in accordance with the aggravating factors supported by

the record. 12-07-11

1 comment:

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