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State ex rel J.P.

January 23, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF J.P., A MINOR.


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, FJ-13-06-2625.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 7, 2008

Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez and C. S. Fisher.

J.P., a fifteen-year-old female student at Keansburg High School, was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for committing conduct, which if committed by an adult, would constitute two counts of aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5)(d); one count of simple assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a; and one count of disorderly conduct, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2. At a disposition hearing, the judge imposed concurrent probationary terms aggregating eighteen months; twelve hours of community service; attendance at anger management training; mandatory attendance at school with no unexcused absences; compliance with all household rules; and the customary mandatory fees and penalties.

The adjudication was based on the following proofs. At approximately 2:00 p.m. on March 6, 2006, there was a melee in the gym hallway at the high school among three female students: J.P., G.M. and A.V. J.P., a new student at the high school, was taken to the other end of the hallway. One of the school's two vice principals told J.P. to turn off her cell phone. When the vice principal told J.P. that her behavior warranted a suspension from school, J.P. responded by saying, "if I'm going to be suspended I'm going to kill the bitch." J.P. ran down the hallway towards G.M. An altercation ensued between the girls.

Drew Murray, the school security officer, attempted to intervene and was struck twice in the head by J.P. J.P. grabbed G.M.'s hair and pulled her towards the ground. Thomas Normile, the Principal of Keansburg High School, arrived on the scene and attempted to provide assistance by pulling G.M. away from J.P. Before he could do so, he was kicked in the groin by J.P. After regaining his composure, Normile managed to restrain G.M. against a locker. Murray continued to struggle to restrain J.P. and both ended up on the floor.

After J.P. was subdued, the school's Dropout Prevention Counselor, Heather DiBlasi Domalewski, moved her to the attendant's office. J.P. continued to be defiant, flipping over a table, throwing chairs, crying, screaming and kicking. Eventually, Domelewski was able to calm J.P. down. Then, J.P. overheard her mother's angry voice in the hallway. J.P. became agitated again, kneed and kicked Domalewski in the stomach and ran into the hallway towards her mother. The police were called. J.P. was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on Murray and Normile,*fn1 simple assault on G.M. and disorderly conduct. G.M. and A.V. were also charged.

At trial, the judge heard the testimony of G.M.,*fn2 Normile, Domalewski, as well as J.P. The judge concluded that J.P. was candid. He found that she had committed a simple assault on G.M., and an aggravated assault on Normile. However, the judge also found that J.P. committed an aggravated assault on Domalewski, an offense that had not been charged. A.V. was found guilty of committing disorderly conduct.

On appeal, J.P. contends that:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADJUDICATING [J.P.] DELINQUENT AS TO COUNT 2 OF THE COMPLAINT AS THERE WAS NO TESTIMONY FROM [MURRAY] THE ...


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