STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. RAYMOND E. TROXELLA-3730-10T2
Defendant was convicted of murder as an accomplice to his co-defendant, Marsh. The jury answered a specific interrogatory finding that defendant "as an accomplice [to Marsh] procured the commission of the offense by payment or promise of payment . . . ." N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(b)(4). The finding of this "triggering event" made defendant eligible for a mandatory sentence of life without parole. The jury subsequently found aggravating factor (e), resulting in imposition of the mandatory sentence.
On appeal, defendant argued for the first time that the judge was required to provide the jury with instructions that permitted it to return a "non-unanimous" verdict on the triggering event, analogizing the situation to prior death penalty jurisprudence which required such a charge.
We concluded that, pursuant to the 2007 amendments that repealed New Jersey's death penalty and made significant changes to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, such an non-unanimity instruction is not required or appropriate, nor was there any independent constitutional basis requiring
the instruction. We affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence. 02/13/14