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State v. A.E.

April 23, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
IN THE INTEREST OF A.E., JUVENILE-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, Complaint No. FJ 09-3041-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 7, 2008

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

Evidence heard and credited by the trial judge reveals that, on April 7, 2007, A.E. (the juvenile) attacked J.M. by swinging at him and striking him multiple times about his head with a brick. The juvenile was charged with delinquency for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

The factual record reveals that A.E. and J.M. had engaged in verbal disputes on a few occasions shortly before April 7, 2007. On that date, J.M. was in a stairwell in an apartment building with other friends, when A.E., garbed in a ski mask, jacket and gloves, arrived at the top of the stairs. As A.E. descended toward the group, he and J.M. exchanged words, which concluded with A.E. telling J.M., "this is the day that you're going to die." With that A.E. swung at J.M. with a brick, striking his head, face and arm multiple times. As J.M. bled heavily from these blows, A.E. dropped the brick and ran. The judge heard testimony that, as a result of this attack, J.M. suffered a "really big gash on the top of his head" and also a "gash on his cheek." J.M.'s wounds were closed and treated at a nearby hospital.

In reliance on this evidence, the trial judge adjudicated the juvenile delinquent on all five counts of the amended complaint, which the judge merged into a finding that the juvenile committed a second-degree aggravated assault as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1). The judge directed that the juvenile be incarcerated at Jamesburg for eighteen months. Less than two months after being incarcerated, the juvenile was transferred to a minimum security facility in Voorhees.

The juvenile appealed, raising the following arguments for our consideration:

I. A.E. IS NOT GUILTY OF SECOND-DEGREE AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AS A MATTER OF LAW PURSUANT TO [THE] HOLDING [IN] STATE v. McALLISTER.

II. THE SENTENCE IMPOSED WAS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE AND AN ABUSE OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION.

III. [THE] STATE HAS NOT PROVED BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AS A MATTER OF EVIDENCE AND OF LEGAL PRINCIPLES THAT A.E. IS GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.

We find insufficient merit in Points I and III to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A) and (E). We add only the following comments.

In this case, the judge determined that the juvenile's conduct met the requirements of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1), which requires proof that the actor "[a]ttempt[ed] to cause serious bodily injury to another, or cause[d] such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly cause[d] such injury." N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1). In State v. McAllister, 211 N.J. Super. 355, 362 (App. Div. 1986), upon which the juvenile places considerable reliance on appeal, we explained that [w]here a person causes serious bodily injury, he is guilty whether his mental state is purposeful, knowing or ...


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