State v. Jones (DOCKET NO. A-5186-10T2)
On April 17, 2012, the Appellate Division ruled that an expert opinion related to the possession of cocaine by the defendant with intent to distribute cocaine was improper because it was expressed in a manner directly commenting on the defendant’s guilt. Generally, the opinion of an expert in a drug distribution case should be expressed in hypothetical terms. However, in Jones, the expert specifically used the defendant by name in his testimony and expressed a direct opinion as to defendant’s obvious guilt. The Appellate Division found this to be plain error and vacated defendant’s conviction. This case provides an excellent review of the parameters for the use of expert testimony in a criminal drug distribution prosecution.