STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. HUGO FIERRO A-4641-12T4Defendant, a Newark police officer, was convicted by a jury of assault charges and official misconduct as a result of an incident recorded by an outdoor surveillance camera during which defendant drew his service weapon while off-duty and struck a man in the face with the gun, causing the man's nose to bleed. On his conviction for official misconduct, defendant was sentenced to a mandatory five-year term of imprisonment without parole.
The conviction is affirmed. The trial court did not force defendant to testify in order to provide his version of the incident when it declined to instruct the jury after the State's case-in-chief on a justification defense pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:3-7(a), use-of-force by a police officer. Also, the split verdict — conviction on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon but acquittal on possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose — did not require reversal on the ground that the jury did not understand the elements of the aggravated assault charge.