USA: Disappointing Verdict- Dr. Divyendu Sinha Murder Case

Trial Days 13, Monday, May 07, 2012

Middlesex County Superior Court

May 07, 2012

 

Dear Supporters of Sinha Family and Community Members:

Namaste. The Jury in the case of The State of New Jersey Vs. Steven K. Contreras for the murder of Dr. Divyendu Sinha on June 25, 2010 has   returned the verdict on the 10 count indictment today at 2:10 PM.  It is a very disappointing verdict. Mr. Contreras was acquitted of murder and aggravated charges which would have carried long term sentences and on the alternate count of Reckless Manslaughter, the Jury was hung. He was convicted on each count of Aggravated Assault to cause significant bodily injury on Anthony Martino, Ashish Sinha and Ravi Sinha which are all third degree charges but was acquitted of Aggravated Assault to cause serious bodily injury on Anthony Martino, Ashish Sinha and Ravi Sinha which are all second degree charges. He was also convicted of Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution of others but was acquitted of Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution of himself.

All third degree convictions carry sentence of 3 to 5 years but they (and fourth degree convictions) are considered “presumption of non-incarceration” meaning unless prosecution proves a need for putting the convict in jail, he goes home free. Also, if he is jailed these are what is termed Flat sentences, meaning a three year term actually translates to nine months, a four year term translates to nine months and 26 days and a five year term translates to 13 months in jail.

However, if convicted, Reckless Manslaughter carries from 5 to 10 years compulsory jail term where 85% sentence has to be served before getting a parole.

Since the Jury was hung on the charge of Reckless Manslaughter, the State can retry Steven Contreras on that single count. In coming days the Deputy 1st Assistant Prosecutor Mr. Chris Kuberiet will Consult with Alkabahen Sinha and his boss, Public Prosecutor, Bruce Kaplan to decide next step of action.  Then, there will be a status conference between Mr. Kuberiet, Defense attorney Hassen Abdellah and the Judge Bradley Ferencz on May 25 to decide the sentencing date and parameters of retrial on that single count. We will keep you posted of further developments.

Alkabahen is quite understandably distraught and disappointed as are many of us. However, we have to respect the Jury’s verdict. We do think that the Jury did not want to sentence the young man to a 30 years to life imprisonment that is why in every case it chose to acquit on Serious bodily  injury (which would lead to the natural conclusion of Murder/Aggravated manslaughter) and settled for Significant bodily injury. There cannot be doubt in any mind that Mr. Contreras, who drove the assailants from place to place that night, who let them out of the car to beat up Sinha family, who waited for them to return after the attack and who drove them back to their homes after the attack was equally responsible for the murder of Dr. Divyendu Sinha. One wonders if such criminals have any remorse or pangs of conscience, i.e, if they have any conscience.

We do thank Mr. Kuberiet who presented a very persuasive case and interacted more as a well-wisher of the family then just a prosecutor. We are thankful to Ms. Terry Musso, the Victim Assistance Officer who has remained with Alkabahen and her sons as a shadow all this time to take care of all her emotional needs. We thank the Judge Bradley Ferencz for overseeing the case in a professional manner and giving fair hearing to both the sides. We thank the Jury- though the verdict was not to our liking; we realize that they exemplified sense of public service and duty by giving 17 days of their precious time. We thank The Star Ledger, Home News Tribune, NJ Channel 12 and Verizon FIOS1 for timely and frequent coverage of the trial. While majority of ethnic media was disappointing and did not care to cover such an important trial that has the Indian community shaken, TV ASiA did a good job of frequent trips to the court house and giving updates in its nightly community roundup program. We sincerely thank them and hope that the community will put enough pressure on other ethnic newspapers, radio stations and TV channels who find time for cinema, entertainment as well as many frivolous programs but not for things that matter, to redirect their focus. This is what the community owes to itself, if it wants its voice to be heard.

Finally, we thank dozens of community members, those of Indian origin and of American, who took time off from their work or business and other engagements and attended the trial to be with Alkabahen and lend her and the family moral support. No words can describe the sense of obligation that we feel towards all of them. Several others sent emails from across USA and from India showing their support, concern and encouragement. Many members called to express their sense of solidarity. Alkabahen feels that she is blessed to have such an extended wonderful family.

We are not done yet; we may have this retrial and then the trial of four accused later on. We now know that we can count on you. Please see below the details of the verdict.

Please watch TV Asia, Channel 12 and Verizon FIOS1 in NJ for details. Also The Star Ledger at <www.nj.com> as well as Home News Tribune <http://www.mycentraljersey.com/>

have details of the judgment.

Please forward this to your contacts.

Thank you.

Brotherly yours,

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA)

Indian American Defense League (IADL)

732-754-1727

Blog at <https://vicharak1.wordpress.com/>, Twitter at<http://twitter.com/#!/vicharak1>

Disclaimer: This is a synopsis of court hearing based on notes taken by me. Not all communications are captured and while I attempt to be as accurate as possible, there may be legal points that could have been missed or misinterpreted. – Gaurang 


old-bridge-teens-tried-adults-sinhajpg-fdb9eff374f9bf9a_large.jpg

Dr. Divyendu Sinha (1961-2010)      

 Old Bridge.JPG

                 Mrs. Alka Sinha 

Contreras trial

                   Defendant Steven Contreras, Driver of the car

                                                          (Photo: Courtesy of tThe Star-Leger)

Deputy  First Assistant Prosecutor,

Christopher Kuberiet

05/01/12-Closing arguments take place in the Steven Contreras murder trial in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, in the courtroom of Judge Bradley J. Ferencz. B691894914Z.1 KATHY JOHNSON/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

                       Judge Bradley Ferencz

 Defense Attorney,

Hassen Abdellah  

(Courtesy: Patti Sapone/Star Ledger)        

                                      

Contreras trial

 Deputy  First Assistant Prosecutor, Christopher Kuberiet, 

Judge Bradley Ferencz, Defense Attorney, Hassen Abdellah

                                                                 (Courtesy: Courier News)                    


    

                                                                               Judge:  Bradley Ferencz (BF)

                                                                                                   Deputy 1st Asst. Public Prosecutor:

                                                                                                            Christopher Kuberiet (CK)

                                                                                                Defense Attorney: Hassen Abdellah (HA)

                                                                                                     Defendant: Steven Contreras (SC)

========================== ===========================

CHARGES and VERDICT SHEET

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY

Vs.

Steven K. Contreras

Prosecutor No.: 10002581

Indictment No.: 10-11=01628

Count 1:

Conspiracy

a.     Steven K. Contreras did conspire with Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson to commit the crime of aggravated assault, serious bodily injury.

 

________ NOT GUILTY [X

________ GUILTY [  ]

If you find the defendant not guilty of count 1a, please answer count b. If you find defendant guilty as to count 1a, please move to count 2.

 

b.    Steven K. Contreras did conspire with Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson to commit the crime of aggravated assault, significant bodily injury, and did an overt act.

 

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [X]


Count 2:

Conspiracy

Steven K. Contreras did conspire with Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson 

to commit the crime of Riot, fourth degree, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating its commission and in pursuance of this conspiracy an overt act was done.

 

 ________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [X]


 

Count 3:

Aggravated Assault

a.     Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause serious bodily injury to Anthony Martino.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [X

________ GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 3a, please move to 3b.

 

b.    Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause significant bodily injury to Anthony Martino.

 

 ________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

 ________ GUILTY [X]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 3b, please move to 3c.

 

c.     Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt a simple assault on Anthony Martino.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [  ]

 

Count 4:

Criminal Mischief

a.     Steven K. Contreras did purposely or knowingly damage a 2003 Mazda Miata, the tangible property of Manolo Martinez 

and/or Michael Martinez while in the custody of Anthony Martino causing pecuniary loses.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [X

________ GUILTY [  ]

  

The amount of the loss proven beyond a reasonable doubt is:

(Please check)

 ______ $2000.00 or more [  ]

 ______ More than $500.00 but less than $2000.00 [  ]

 ______ $500.00 or less  [  ]

 

Count 5:

a.     Murder

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely or knowingly inflict serious bodily injury upon Dr. Divyendu Sinha resulting in his death.

 

________ NOT GUILTY [X

________ GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 5a, please move to 5b.

 

b.    Aggravated Manslaughter

 

Steven K. Contreras did recklessly cause the death of Dr. Divyendu Sinha under circumstances manifesting 

extreme indifference to human life.


________ NOT GUILTY [X

________ GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 5b, please move to 5c.

 

c.     Reckless Manslaughter

 

Steven K. Contreras did recklessly cause the death of Dr. Divyendu Sinha. 

  

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________GUILTY [  ] HUNG JURY- Could not come to an agreement


Count 6:

a.     Aggravated Assault

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause serious bodily injury to  A.S. (Ashish Sinha.)


________ NOT GUILTY [X

________GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 6a, please move to 6b.

 

b.    Significant Bodily Injury

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause significant bodily injury to  A.S. (Ashish Sinha.)

 ________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [X]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 6b, please move to 6c.

 

c.     Simple Assault

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt a simple assault on  A.S. (Ashish Sinha.)

 

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [  ]


Count 7:

a.     Aggravated Assault

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause serious bodily injury to  R.S. (Ravi Sinha.)

 

________ NOT GUILTY [X

 ________ GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 7a, please move to 7b.

 

b.    Significant Bodily Injury

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt to cause significant bodily injury to  R.S. (Ravi Sinha.)

 

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [X]

 

If you find defendant not guilty of 7b, please move to 7c.

 

c.     Simple Assault

 

Steven K. Contreras did purposely attempt a simple assault on  R.S. (Ravi Sinha.)

 

_________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [  ]



Count 8:

Riot

 

Steven K. Contreras did participate, within a group of four (4) persons, in a course of disorderly conduct with purpose to commit 

or facilitate the commission of a crime.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

________ GUILTY [X]



Count 9:

Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution

Steven K. Contreras with purpose to hinder the apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another person, that is, 

Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson did suppress, by way of concealment 

or destruction, any evidence of a crime, or tamper with a document or other source of information, regardless of its admissibility in evidence, which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of the said Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson or in the lodging of a charge against Julian C. Daley and/or Christian M. Tinli and/or Christopher Conway and/or Cash Q. Johnson and/or volunteered false information to a law enforcement officer.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [  ] 

 ________ GUILTY [X]

 

If you find the defendant guilty, please check the offense that the defendant hindered:


______Riot [  ]

______Aggravated Assault on any party, serious. [  ]

______Aggravated Assault on any party, significant. [X]

______Criminal Mischief [X]


Count 10:

Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution

Steven K. Contreras with purpose to hinder his own apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment did suppress, by way 

of concealment or destruction, evidence of a crime, or tampered with a document or other source of information, regardless of its 

admissibility in evidence, which might aid in his discovery or apprehension, or in the lodging of a charge against the said 

defendant and/or volunteered false information to a law enforcement officer.

  

________ NOT GUILTY [X

 ________ GUILTY [  ]

 

If you find the defendant guilty, please check the offense that the defendant hindered:


______ Riot [  ]

______ Aggravated Assault on any party, serious. [  ]

_______ Aggravated Assault on any party, significant. [  ]

_______ Criminal Mischief [  ]

 

================================================

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Posted on May 9, 2012, in Bharatiyas in USA, Social Issues, Uncategorized, USA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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