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State v. Crescenzi

Decided: March 30, 1988.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JULIUS CRESCENZI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Mercer County.

Deighan, R. S. Cohen and Landau. The opinion of the court was delivered by Landau, J.A.D.

Landau

[224 NJSuper Page 143] Defendant Julius Crescenzi appeals from his conviction on two counts of witness tampering (N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5 a(2)) following jury trial. Counts of official misconduct (N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2

a) and misapplication of governmental property (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-15) were dismissed by the trial judge at the end of the State's case. Motions for new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict were denied. Pretrial motions for a bill of particulars and for severance of the misconduct and misapplication counts had been previously denied.

The four counts for which Crescenzi was tried were contained in Mercer County Indictment No. 1-1-85, superseding four counts of an earlier 23 count Indictment No. 557-5-84, which had been returned against Crescenzi and his job supervisor, codefendant Daniel J. Rosetty. The superseding indictment was consistent with the earlier severance of Crescenzi from trial with Rosetty, but it also eliminated the names of two persons who were subject to the alleged tampering which had been contained in the first indictment. The indictments grew out of a prosecutor's investigation into alleged private diversions of public manpower and material by supervisory employees of the Hamilton Township Board of Education. Rosetty appears to have been the principal target of this investigation, as supervisor of the maintenance department. Crescenzi was a foreman under his supervision.

Following his conviction, Crescenzi was sentenced to probation, community service, a $350 fine, and $25 Violent Crimes Compensation Board penalty on each count. He was also barred, on the State's motion, from holding any office or position of honor, trust or profit under the State or its administrative or political subdivisions. (N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2 c)

On appeal, Crescenzi urges:

I. N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

A. NEW JERSEY'S TAMPERING STATUTE IS OVERBROAD.

1. A STATUTE IN WHICH SPEECH MAY TRIGGER CRIMINAL LIABILITY MUST REQUIRE A SPECIFIC INTENT MENS REA OR IS OVERBROAD.

B. NEW JERSEY'S TAMPERING STATUTE IS VOID FOR VAGUENESS.

II. THE COURT'S RULING LIMITING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S CROSS-EXAMINATION ON THE QUESTION OF INTENT WAS ...


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