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In re State

December 12, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE MATTER OF THE COMMITMENT OF PHILLIP A. WOOD.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 20-80.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 15, 2007

Before Judges Wefing and Lyons.

Phillip A. Wood (Wood), a Krol committee, appeals from two consent orders entered in this matter.*fn1 The first order, dated July 21, 2000, suspended Krol review hearings for Wood during the time that he was in the custody of the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), but provided that ninety days prior to his parole or release date, the court would schedule a Krol hearing.*fn2

The second order, dated October 18, 2002, established a maximum limit of Krol supervision of thirty years, remanded Wood to the Burlington County jail and Ancora Psychiatric Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, vacated the suspension of Krol hearings, and established a Krol hearing for December 6, 2002. The following factual and procedural history is relevant to our consideration of the issues advanced on appeal.

In 1981, Wood was found not guilty by reason of insanity of felony murder and aggravated arson and was involuntarily committed to Ancora Psychiatric Hospital. During the course of his confinement, he received periodic Krol review hearings.

On December 22, 1999, Wood was arrested for third-degree aggravated assault of his psychiatrist at Ancora. On May 3, 2000, Wood was sentenced on charges of third-degree aggravated assault, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7), and fourth-degree criminal mischief (amended from third-degree aggravated arson), pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3(a). The criminal mischief charge related to Wood's arrest on August 5, 1999, for setting fire to bed linens at Ancora. Wood was sentenced to three years in prison on the assault charge and eighteen months on the criminal mischief charge to run concurrent with each other.

On July 21, 2000, Judge Victor Friedman signed a consent order that suspended Wood's Krol hearings while he was under the custody of the DOC. The order provided, however, that ninety days prior to his parole or release, the court was to be notified and a Krol hearing was to be scheduled. This order was consented to as to both form and substance by the prosecutor and counsel for Wood.

On August 2, 2002, the DOC advised the prosecutor that it did not see a need for involuntary commitment to the Anne Klein Forensic Center or the Special Treatment Unit, but noted that since Wood is on Krol status, a Krol hearing should be scheduled.

On October 18, 2002, Judge Thomas S. Smith signed the second consent order. This order was also consented to as to form and entry by the prosecutor and Wood's attorney. It provided that the maximum limit on Wood's Krol supervision would be thirty years; ordered that Wood was to be transported to Ancora for psychiatric evaluation; vacated the suspension of Krol review hearings; and ordered a Krol review hearing for December 6, 2002. Following the Krol hearing in December 2002, Judge Smith found that Wood, if released to the community, would pose a danger to himself, others, and property, and ordered him transferred to Ancora. This appeal followed.

On appeal, Wood presents the following argument for our consideration:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRONEOUSLY SUSPENDED MR. WOOD'S KROL HEARINGS PENDING RELEASE FROM PRISON, DENYING HIM HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION, BECAUSE EITHER MR. WOOD's KROL STATUS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ...


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