After a New Jersey State Appeals Court overturned the sentence of a man found guilty on manslaughter charges in 2010, the case will be heard in a new trial conducted in Essex County Superior Court.
On Friday, January 17th, an appellate panel composed of three judges decided that the trial of 34-year-old former Newark resident Allateef Livingston was invalid due to potential jury misconduct and the actions of the judge in the Essex County case.
Livingston was originally charged with homicide, a first-degree offense, in connection with the shooting of an alleged rival drug dealer named Klalife Logan in Newark in 2007. According to the prosecution, Livingston and Logan were distributing marijuana in the same vicinity before Livingston shot Logan 11 times with an automatic assault rifle. Livingston was ultimately convicted of manslaughter charges and received a sentence of 45 years in New Jersey State Prison on May 27, 2010.
The recent decision to overturn the jury’s ruling in this case comes following an investigation into the events that occurred prior to Livingston’s sentencing. According to Livingston’s mother, she witnessed the forewoman on her son’s jury at the Essex County Jail speaking with one of the inmates, who was ultimately identified as the father of the juror’s child.
In a court hearing held 10 days before Livingston received his sentence, his lawyer attempted to convince the judge to overturn his conviction on the grounds that the juror had misled attorneys on both sides when she was initially questioned for a potential seat on the jury. During her initial questioning, the woman denied whether herself, a member of her family, or one of her friends had ever been accused of committing a crime.
The judge presiding over Livingston’s trial subsequently questioned the forewoman, ultimately deciding not to overturn his conviction. The appeals court stated that the judge should have been more thorough in his questioning about her objectivity in relation to Livingston’s case considering the circumstances of her personal situation.
In an even more shocking revelation, the appeals court published in their decision that the father of the forewoman’s child was in the same holding cell as Livingston at one point and that the man was to appear before the same judge on his own charges.
In overturning Livingston’s conviction and ordering a new trial, the appellate panel stated that there was potential for consultation about the defendant between the forewoman and the man who once shared a cell with Livingston. They also noted that the forewoman could easily have discussed that information with the other members of the jury, potentially skewing any chance for impartiality in the criminal proceedings involving Livingston.
Expect ongoing coverage of this case, with continued updates on Livingston’s new trial.
Further, if you are currently facing criminal charges, contact Newark NJ criminal defense attorney Alissa D. Hascup for a free consultation about your case.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Accused killer of Newark drug rival has conviction overturned by appeals court