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State ex rel X.B.

July 31, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF X.B., JUVENILE-APPELLANT.


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Somerset County, Docket No. FJ-18-948-06.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lyons, J.A.D.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION

Submitted April 9, 2008

Before Judges Parker, R. B. Coleman and Lyons.

Appellant X.B. was adjudicated delinquent of offenses that would have constituted the following crimes if committed by an adult: third-degree resisting arrest, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a); fourth-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5)(a); and the petty disorderly persons offense of defiant trespass, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3(b). These offenses arose out of X.B.'s arrest for trespassing on public housing property, despite being notified that he was on a list prohibiting him from being on the Parkside Housing Complex (Parkside). Because we find that his inclusion on the list is constitutional as applied to X.B. and there is sufficient credible evidence in the record to support the trial court's finding of delinquency beyond a reasonable doubt, we affirm.

The facts and procedural history relevant to our consideration of the issues advanced on appeal are as follows. The Franklin Township Police Department prepared a list (the Parkside List) of individuals who are not permitted on Franklin Township Housing Authority (Housing Authority) property for various reasons, such as a criminal conviction or a finding of delinquency for drug or violence-related offenses. This list was then approved by the Housing Director and the attorney for the Housing Authority. The Parkside List is not available to the public, nor is there a procedure to challenge one's name being placed on the List or to remove one's name from the List after the passage of time.

The practice in Franklin Township is to notify individuals who are placed on the list face-to-face, not in writing. X.B., a juvenile, was placed on the Parkside List because of a May 10, 2003, arrest for assault, which subsequently led to an adjudication of delinquency for possession of a weapon. According to the police, both X.B. and his mother were notified in person that X.B. was on the Parkside List, that he was restricted from entering Parkside, and that he could be arrested if he did enter the complex.

On April 13, 2006, Franklin Township police observed X.B. traveling on a bicycle across Parkside property towards his residence on Minetta Road. They went to X.B.'s residence, a short distance away from the Parkside housing complex, to inform his mother that he was trespassing on Parkside property. As the officers approached the home, X.B. cursed at the officers and a disturbance ensued involving two other juveniles as well. As a result, an officer attempted to arrest X.B., who then pulled away from the arresting officer, flailed his arms in an attempt to resist being handcuffed, and struck the officer in the chest with his elbow. X.B. was then arrested and charged with resisting arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a); aggravated assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5)(a); and defiant trespass, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3(b).

The trial court heard evidence from several Franklin Township police officers, who testified about the Parkside List and that X.B. had been placed on the list because of his adjudication as a delinquent for possession of a weapon. The officers also testified about the circumstances of X.B.'s arrest for trespassing, including X.B.'s attempt to resist the arresting officer, and how the officer was struck in the chest during the course of X.B.'s resistance. X.B. and his co-defendants presented several witnesses. While the judge found the testimony of the officers credible, he did not give great weight to X.B.'s witnesses and found X.B. delinquent. On September 12, 2006, the trial judge sentenced X.B. to one year at Jamesburg Youth Correctional Center, giving credit for twenty-three days already served.

X.B. filed a motion contesting the constitutionality of the defiant trespassing statute as applied to him. On October 27, 2006, after arguments from the defense, the State, and an amicus curiae argument by the Housing Authority, the trial judge found that the statute was constitutional as applied to X.B and denied the motion.

In his appeal, X.B. raises the following points for ...


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