On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 05-02-0143.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 2, 2007
Before Judges Coburn and Grall.
A jury found defendant Letha Arthur guilty of third-degree aggravated assault, based on purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to a public school teacher. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), b(5)(d). The judge sentenced defendant to four years probation and 364 days in jail and imposed a $100 VCCB assessment, a $75 SNSF assessment and a $30 LEOTEF penalty. Defendant appeals from the final judgment of conviction and sentence.*fn1 We affirm.
The evidence at trial was adequate to permit the jurors to find the following facts. On Thursday, February 12, 2004, Elaine Bisciotti, a teacher employed in a public school in Patterson, was conducting an after-school literacy program for first and second graders. Defendant's son was a member of the class. He and another student scuffled, and Bisciotti intervened and pushed them apart. Defendant's son landed on the carpeted floor in a sitting position. The other child struck his head on a desk. Defendant's son left the class, went home and told defendant about the incident.
Defendant went to her son's school. At her request, a teacher directed her to Bisciotti's classroom. The vice principal saw defendant, and he and the teacher, who had also given her directions, followed her to Bisciotti's classroom.
Defendant, the vice principal and the teacher entered the classroom. Although the other students were still present, defendant questioned Bisciotti. While Bisciotti attempted to explain, defendant pushed her with both hands and said "How do you like it?" Bisciotti fell backward to the floor. The other teacher, who was standing behind Bisciotti, caught her but was unable to prevent her from falling to the floor. At the vice principal's request, defendant left the classroom. Defendant said she was sorry.
Bisciotti saw a doctor. Her hand was swollen, and she was treated for injuries to two of her fingers. Although she returned to work the following Monday, she saw a physical therapist for six months and was unable to play the piano at her granddaughter's graduation.
Defense counsel asked Bisciotti about her prior experiences with defendant's son. Bisciotti explained that he had been in her class during the prior school year. She added that she had given him breakfast because he was hungry and bought him socks when she noticed that he had come to school without them.
On the basis of the foregoing evidence, the jurors found that defendant purposely, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to Bisciotti, knowing that she was a public school teacher.
On appeal defendant argues:
I. THE TRIAL COURT'S JURY INSTRUCTIONS WERE DEFICIENT.
II. INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE OF OTHER BAD ACTS WAS ADMITTED ...