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Trial Judge Failed to Make Adequate Factual Findings


by in Criminal Appeals

State v. Darryl Bozeman, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-0565-06T4 (September 13, 2010) – Case remanded for evidentiary hearing.

“Defendant argues that he was denied due process of law by the trial court’s decision to allow Officer Santarpia to make an in-court identification of him without first finding that such an identification would be reliable…. [A]lthough a trial court is required to reach the issue of ‘taint’ only if it first finds that the identification process was unduly suggestive, the better practice is to make specific findings of fact on the independent reliability of the identifications…. Here, the trial court did not make the necessary findings. The judge never stated whether Santarpia’s out-of-court photo array identification of defendant was impermissibly suggestive, but held that it could not be admitted into evidence at trial. On the other hand, he made no findings as to the reliability of the identification or why the in-court was admissible in light of the excluded photographic identification and the courthouse observation. As a result defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation is seriously implicated. We remand for further proceedings on the questions concerning identification which the trial judge did not address and to determine issues of admissibility based thereon.”






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