TRENTON – The state Supreme Court upheld a Perth Amboy man’s conviction for killing a prostitute in 2004, rejecting his argument that it should be overturned because he was not permitted to call a psychiatrist during his defense.
In the unanimous ruling released Monday, the justices found that Graciano Martinez-Rosales’ argument was without merit.
Martinez-Rosales attempted to suppress a confession he made before his 2006 trial and enlisted the aid of a psychiatrist, who testified at the suppression hearing. Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa found that Martinez-Rosales’ testimony that police threatened him with the electric chair in order to obtain the confession was not credible.
De Vesa then refused to allow Martinez-Rosales’s psychiatrist to testify at trial because he had not made a clinical diagnosis and would only be offering opinions based on generalizations about Martinez-Rosales’ mental state at the time he made the confession.
The justices upheld De Vesa’s ruling.
“In short, Dr. Latimer’s proposed testimony did not contain more insight than an average juror would possess through his or her common knowledge when provided with the same facts to understand defendant’s position that threats of death led him to falsely confess to preserve his own life,” Justice John Wallace Jr. wrote in the state Supreme Court opinion.
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