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State v. Paden-Battle

New Jersey Appellate Division

June 16, 2020

After a trial, which included chilling testimony about gang violence, a jury convicted the defendant of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and felony murder. The defendant appealed arguing the trial court erred when it instructed the jury. The Appellate Division affirmed as to the jury instructions. However, the Court vacated the conviction, because the jury verdict did not allow the judge to sentence the defendant as if she was convicted of first-degree kidnapping. The verdict should have been molded to reflect a conviction of second-degree kidnapping. Moreover, the trial court based the sentence on the facts as the judge found them, instead of the facts as found by the jury.

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