WOODBURYAccording to a press release issued by the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office:

Mentioning a man’s arrest warrant during his trial on charges of resisting arrest and possession of PCP in Paulsboro does not overturn his 2012 conviction, a Superior Court appellate panel ruled Monday.

Considering his record and the circumstances of his arrest, the five-year prison sentence imposed on Anthony Fowlkes, 54,   homeless, was appropriate, the court ruled in the same appellate decision.

The appeals panel concurred with Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Joseph Enos that case law in New Jersey has established that reference to a pending warrant during a defendant’s trial need not be shielded from a jury. In Fowlkes’ trial, the two references in testimony were “fleeting,”  the appellate judges said.

The jury was properly instructed that “there are any number of innocuous reasons” for a warrant, Enos said in a brief opposing the appeal. In Fowlkes case, the warrant was for violation of probation, though that “never leaked out into the record,” Enos noted.

With 12 felony convictions, three parole violations and one violation of probation, “the State says it is a fact that the defendant knew who (arresting officer) Ridinger was, what he wanted and why- of all the people on Pine Steet at 1:40 a.m. on May 5, 2011, defendant Anthony Fowlkes was more acutely aware of his parole violation than anyone,”  Enos wrote.

Nonetheless, Fowlkes ran from Ridinger and when apprehended was charged with resisting. Fleeing over several property fences “threatened serious harm to Officer Ridinger,”  the court said in finding the five-year sentence properly imposed.