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State v. Abdullah
New Jersey Supreme Court
878 A.2d 746 (2005)
Shortly after his release from prison, Abdul Abdullah (defendant) brutally murdered his former girlfriend. The jury found Abdullah guilty of murder, second-degree burglary, and unlawful possession of a weapon. At sentencing, the trial court identified four aggravating factors: (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense, especially its heinous, cruel, and depraved manner; (2) the risk that Abdullah would commit another crime; (3) the seriousness of his prior criminal record; and (4) the need for deterrence. The court found those aggravating factors overwhelming and no mitigating factors and sentenced Abdullah to life imprisonment with a 30-year parole disqualifier for the murder, and a consecutive 10-year prison term with a five-year parole disqualifier for the burglary. The judge explained it was the most brutal murder he had seen in over 23 years on the bench and that Abdullah was a vicious and dangerous person with a history of domestic violence who was not deterred by his prior 18-year prison term. Abdullah appealed, arguing that the sentence violated his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury under Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), because the jury did not determine the facts necessary to impose maximum terms for murder and burglary, the burglary parole disqualifier, or consecutive sentences.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Albin, J.)
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