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In re State ex rel L.B.

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


August 3, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF L.B., JUVENILE-APPELLANT.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, FJ-16-1012-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 17, 2007

Before Judges C.S. Fisher and Grall.

L.B. appeals from an adjudication of delinquency for conduct that, if committed by an adult, would constitute robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. L.B. was tried with two co-defendants, who were acquitted. The judge of the Family Part entered a disposition requiring L.B. to serve a one-year term of probation, perform fifty hours of community service, participate in an anger management program, submit a sample for DNA testing, and pay a $35 VCCCB assessment and a $15 LEOTEF assessment.

On November 1, 2005, K.J. left Eastside High School in Patterson and went to a fast food restaurant for lunch. When he left the restaurant he was followed by a group of young men. One of them asked him whether he had a cell phone. After he acknowledged that he did, he was hit from behind and fell to the ground. One of the young men punched him in the face and took his cell phone, and members of the group held him down, while another young man removed his sneakers. When the group left him, K.J. went into a store for help. The police officer who responded to the scene saw a cut on K.J.'s face. K.J. and the officer drove around the area and K.J. identified a group of young men. One of them was carrying a bag with a pair of dark-colored sneakers inside. Another was wearing light-colored sneakers that K.J. identified as his. The cell phone was not found. K.J. and the officer testified at the delinquency hearing. K.J. identified L.B. as the member of the group who punched him and took his cell phone.

On appeal L.B. argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the adjudication of delinquency. It is clear that the evidence must be adequate to support a finding of each element of the offense alleged beyond a reasonable doubt. See In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 362, 90 S.Ct. 1068, 1071, 25 L.Ed. 2d 368, 374 (1970); State v. Reyes, 50 N.J. 454, 458-59 (1967). Crediting K.J.'s identification of L.B. as the person who hit him in the face, caused his injury and took his cell phone, the judge determined that L.B. had engaged in conduct that constituted robbery.

K.J.'s testimony, if believed, was adequate to permit a finding of each element of robbery beyond a reasonable doubt. See N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a(1) (permitting conviction based upon infliction of bodily injury in the course of committing a theft); N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1a (defining bodily injury to include "physical pain"). Deferring, as we must, to the trial court's determination of K.J.'s credibility, we affirm. State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 471 (1999).

20070803

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