State v. Paden-Battle

After a trial, which included chilling testimony about gang violence, a jury convicted Paden-Battle (“PB”) of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and felony murder. PB appealed arguing the trial court erred when it instructed the jury. PB also asserted the trial court relied on the impermissible information. The Court of 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 PB as if she was convicted of first-degree kidnapping and that 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 found by the jury.