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State v. Sgrignuoli

June 18, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BRYAN F. SGRIGNUOLI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, 06-01-0409.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued June 4, 2007

Before Judges Lintner and Seltzer.

On January 30, 2006, a Camden County grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging defendant, Bryan Sgrignuoli, with assault by auto, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(3). Defendant's application for Pretrial Intervention (PTI) was denied by Mary Morina, the Camden County PTI Coordinator. Defendant's subsequent motion, challenging the PTI Coordinator's decision, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12f, was denied by the Law Division judge following oral argument on June 9, 2006. An order memorializing the judge's decision was entered on June 12, 2006.

On June 30, 2006, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, defendant pled guilty to the indictment, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his application for PTI. Defendant was sentenced, in accordance with the plea agreement, to two years of probation, one-hundred hours of community service, and six-months suspended driver's license. Appropriate fines and penalties were also imposed. Defendant appeals, challenging the denial of his application for entry into PTI. We affirm.

The undisputed facts are as follows. On October 7, 2005, at approximately 1:50 a.m., Gloucester police officer John McHugh pulled over a van for a traffic infraction. While McHugh sat in his patrol car behind the van, occupied by its driver, defendant crashed his vehicle into the rear of the patrol unit causing it, in turn, to collide with the rear of the van. As a result of the accident, the driver of the van was transported to a local hospital and was treated for a fractured ankle and a hip pointer. Officer McHugh suffered abrasions and was hit in the head with a rifle that had been housed in the police unit.

Following the accident, defendant was found sitting on a nearby curb, crying. Defendant registered .17 on the breathalyzer and was arrested for driving under the influence. Defendant was also given summonses for operating an unregistered motor vehicle and for reckless driving. Defendant was subsequently indicted with third-degree assault by auto.

At the time of the accident, defendant was twenty-six years old, single, and had no prior contact with the criminal justice system. Defendant was a graduate of Rutgers University and was in the process of completing a program to receive his teaching certificate. Defendant worked full-time for Data Transformation Corporation and part-time as a substitute teacher and as a laborer for his brother's landscaping company. Defendant also worked as a laborer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In response to defendant's application for entry into PTI, the PTI coordinator wrote:

N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12(e)1, 2, 7 and 14 requires consideration of the nature of the offense, the facts of the case, needs and interests of the victim and society and whether or not the crime is of such a nature that the value of supervisory treatment would be outweighed by the public need for prosecution.

N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12(e)(10) further demands consideration of whether or not the crime is of an assaultive or violent nature whether in the criminal act itself or in the possible injurious consequences of such behavior.

After describing the manner in which the incident occurred, the PTI Coordinator noted the following regarding the injuries suffered by the van driver and officer and the reasons for her denial of defendant's application:

[The driver of the van] was treated for injuries including a fracture to his ankle and hip pointer. Officer McHugh suffered abrasions and was hit in the head with a rifle as a result of the crash. The defendant's actions and behavior were assaultive and violent in that they resulted in serious consequences (injuries) to two victims. It should also be noted that the indictment charge[d] the defendant with Assault by Auto as the defendant drove a vehicle while intoxicated and resulted in injury on ...


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