Conviction For Attempted Murder of Newark Police Officer Upheld On Appeal
- November 20, 2014
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Omar Bridges and two co-conspirators were charged, by an Essex County grand jury, with three counts of first-degree attempted murder (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 and 2C:5-1); three counts of second-degree aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1)); third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, a handgun (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)); second-degree possession of a weapon, a handgun, for an unlawful purpose (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a)); second-degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(f)); third-degree receiving stolen property (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7); second-degree eluding (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(b)); and first-degree conspiracy to attempt to murder the occupants of a vehicle (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and 2C:11-3). Bridges was ultimately convicted of the attempted murder of Newark Police Officer Patinho, aggravated assault on Officer Patinho, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of an assault weapon, receiving stolen property and certain persons not to have weapons. For his participation in stealing a Jaguar, engaging in a shoot-out with occupants of another vehicle and the shooting of a police officer in the chase thereafter, Omar Bridges was sentenced to an aggregate 40-year prison term. Officer Pathino’s testimony at trial was that he saw the shoot-out while on patrol and, upon turning on the squad car’s lights, a Jaguar and Subaru fled in different directions with Pathino chasing the Jaguar. The chase through Newark lasted approximately two minutes at 90 to 100 miles per hour until the Jaguar went airborne crossing railroad tracks and sustained heavy damage. When the Jaguar came to rest, Officer Pathino exited the squad car and ordered the Jaguar’s passengers to show their hands at which time the passenger shot Officer Pathino. Officer Gasavage exchanged fire and the vehicle’s occupants fled on foot. On appeal in State v. Bridges, the Defendant claimed the trial court erred in denying his request for a Wade hearing with regard to Officer Pathino’s photo identification of the Defendant. Although New Jersey took a more broad approach to pre-trial identification in State v. Henderson, 208 N.J. 208 (2011), the Appellate Division determined that, under the circumstances of the case, United States v. Wade, 388, U.S. 218 (1967) did not serve to extend exclusionary principles of pre-trial identification procedures to in-court trial identifications in Defendant’s case. The Defendant next raised the point that the sentencing court did not perform an appropriate analysis under State v. Yarbough, 100 N.J. 627 (1985) which requires the court to consider six specific criteria in sentencing. The NJ Appellate Division agreed with the Defendant and remanded the matter to the sentencing court for a full statement of its reasons for imposing consecutive sentences as required under State v. Carey, 168 N.J. 413 (2001). If you are facing murder or other serious charges, you are facing a prison sentence which may last your entire life. You require an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and ensure that your are provided with the best possible defense. For more information about murder, weapons offenses, theft and other serious criminal offenses in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.