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State v. Urbina
New Jersey Supreme Court
115 A.3d 261 (2015)
Edwin Urbana (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder for shooting and killing Edwin Torres. Urbana was 16 years old at the time of the shooting. Urbana faced a potential life sentence. The state (plaintiff) offered to reduce the charges to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, with a recommended sentence not to exceed 17.5 years, in exchange for Urbana’s guilty plea. During the plea colloquy, defense counsel questioned Urbana about the shooting. Urbana alleged that he and Torres had argued and that Torres had smacked him. Urbana also alleged that as he turned to walk away from Torres, he saw Torres draw a firearm, and in response, Urbana drew his own automatic handgun, pulled the trigger, and the gun discharged six rounds, killing Torres. The trial court asked Urbana whether he pointed the gun at Torres when he fired. Urbana said he had. Defense counsel added that the police found no gun on Torres and that defense counsel and Urbana had resolved that self-defense was not a viable defense. The prosecutor also added that an eyewitness stated that Torres was unarmed. The trial judge asked whether Urbana agreed. Urbana said that he agreed. The prosecutor requested that a waiver of a self-defense claim be added to the plea agreement. Urbana signed the amended agreement. Urbana was convicted of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fernandez-Vina, J.)
Dissent (Solomon, J.)
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