New Jersey v. Tillery

Defendant Kareem Tillery was convicted of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and a fourth-degree offense. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining charges against him. The trial court sentenced defendant to an extended term, and the Appellate Division upheld defendant’s conviction and sentence. The issue Tillery's appeal presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court's consideration centered on defendant’s contention that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence his statement to police because he did not expressly or implicitly waive his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), before answering questions. Defendant also challenged his sentence, arguing that the court inappropriately considered his criminal record and evidence relating to charges as to which the jury failed to reach a verdict. The Court expressed "significant concerns" about the procedure followed in this case. "Neither the script set forth on the Miranda card nor the detective’s statement to defendant addressed whether defendant agreed to waive his rights before answering questions." However, the Court held any error in the trial court’s admission of the statement was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the State presented overwhelming independent evidence of defendant’s guilt. "And, although the State should have moved to dismiss the charges on which the jury had deadlocked before the court considered evidence relevant to those charges, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in applying three aggravating factors to impose an extended-term sentence at the high end of the statutory range." View "New Jersey v. Tillery" on Justia Law