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State v. Muhammad
New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
359 N.J. Super. 361 (2003)
Jamal Muhammad (defendant) was charged with murder. At trial, the prosecution (plaintiff) called Stephon Duggan to testify. Duggan was facing other charges and had secured an agreement with the prosecution for a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony. Based on this agreement, the defense sought to impeach Duggan’s credibility on cross-examination by suggesting that he had fabricated his testimony solely to reduce his sentence. In response, the prosecution introduced consistent statements Duggan had made to police prior to trial. These prior statements were sworn and recorded. Muhammad objected, arguing that the recorded statements were made after Duggan had signed the agreement with law enforcement. Muhammad argued that the rule permitting the admission of prior consistent statements required that the prior statement be made before any improper influence or motive arose. The trial court overruled the objection. Muhammad was convicted, and he appealed, arguing that Duggan’s prior, tape-recorded statements should not have been admitted.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lisa, J.)
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