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State v. J.L.M.

April 11, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
IN THE INTEREST OF J.L.M. JUVENILE-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Gloucester County, Docket No. FJ-08-1613-05.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 31, 2008

Before Judges Collester, C.S. Fisher and C.L. Miniman.

J.L.M. was charged with delinquency for conduct that would have constituted aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)(1), sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), and endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), if committed by an adult. He unsuccessfully moved to suppress a confession given during police interrogation and, at the conclusion of a trial, was found to have engaged in sexual contact, contrary to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), with a twelve-year old girl he met on the internet. The judge imposed a two-year probationary term subject to Megan's Law notification requirements.

On appeal, the juvenile raises the following arguments for our consideration:

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE JUVENILE'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS HIS INCULPATORY STATEMENTS MADE AT THE GLOUCESTER COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE IN THE ABSENCE OF HIS MOTHER.

A. [THE JUVENILE'S MOTHER'S] ABSENCE FROM THE INTERVIEW ROOM AMOUNTED TO A "DELIBERATE EXCLUSION BY THE POLICE" BECAUSE IT WAS AN INVESTIGATIVE TACTIC THAT WAS DESIGNED TO SECURE AN INCULPATORY STATEMENT BY J.L.M.

B. THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO CONSIDER THE IMPROPER SOLICITATIONS MADE BY THE TWO DETECTIVES THAT THEY WERE THERE TO "HELP" J.L.M. IN ITS ANALYSIS UNDER THE "TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES TEST."

C. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN REJECTING DR. WOLFSON'S OPINION THAT THE JUVENILE'S STATEMENTS WERE INVOLUNTARY AND COERCED AS AN IMPROPER "NET OPINION."

II. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT ENTERING SUA SPONTE A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL AT THE END OF THE STATE'S CASE, AND IN ADJUDICATING THE JUVENILE DELINQUENT THE TRIAL COURT DILUTED THE CONCEPTS OF REASONABLE DOUBT AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE BY IMPROPERLY APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF JUDICIAL NOTICE.

A. THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE ENTERED A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL SUA SPONTE AT THE END OF THE STATE'S CASE.

B. IN ADJUDICATING J.L.M. DELINQUENT THE TRIAL COURT DILUTED THE CONCEPTS OF REASONABLE DOUBT AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE BY IMPROPERLY ...


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