New Jersey Jury Instructions Regarding Prior Inconsistent Statements

In State v. Allen, 308 N.J. Super. 421, 706 A.2d 220 (App.Div.1998), the Court addressed the trial court's failure to instruct the jury regarding prior inconsistent statements. While recognizing that instructions to a jury are to be examined as a whole, State v. Gartland, 149 N.J. 456, 473, 694 A.2d 564 (1997); State v. Delibero, 149 N.J. 90, 106-07, 692 A.2d 981 (1997), State v. Wilbely, 63 N.J. 420, 422, 307 A.2d 608 (1973)("Portions of a jury charge alleged to be erroneous cannot be dealt with in isolation but the charge should be examined as a whole to determine its overall effect."), the Court nevertheless concluded that the abbreviated credibility charge and the absence of both inconsistent statement and deliberation charges amounted to cumulative error warranting reversal of the defendant's conviction. Allen, 308 N.J. Super., at 431, 706 A.2d 220.