Confrontation Clause Violated & Sentence Reduced by 2 Years
The conviction of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree was vacated and a new trial was ordered on that count because the defense was not given an opportunity to cross-examine a DMV employee about testimony that established an essential element of the crime. This violated Mr. Ellerbee’s right to confrontation. In addition, the 5-year sentence on a different count raised an inference that Mr. Ellerbee was penalized for exercising his right to a jury trial. The Appellate Division reduced the 5-year sentence to 3 years. Judgment Modified, Sentence Reduced, New Trial Ordered.
Anders Nelson and law students from our Criminal Appeals Field Clinic represented Mr. Ellerbee