On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Appeal No. 0089-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued September 10, 2008
Before Judges Cuff and Fisher.
In this appeal, defendant contends that the evidence regarding his conduct in the Tropicana Casino, on July 11, 2007, was insufficient to support his conviction for disorderly conduct, which is defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2(a)(1) as "fighting or threatening" or "violent or tumultuous" conduct committed "with the purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance and alarm." We find no merit in defendant's arguments and affirm.
During the municipal trial, the judge heard the testimony of Jean Ducasé, a security officer employed by the Tropicana Casino, and defendant. Ducasé testified that approximately one week earlier than the event in question, defendant was evicted from the casino because he was looking for credit in slot machines. On July 11, according to Ducasé's testimony, he recognized defendant from the earlier eviction and asked him to leave. According to Ducasé, while "a lot of people were around" in the casino, defendant got "really loud," and "push[ed] people away," including Ducasé and another security officer. Defendant continued to refuse to leave, necessitating a call to the state police for assistance.
Defendant testified that he entered the casino as he had every day for the last twelve years when, approximately five minutes later as he was walking through the casino, a security officer came up from behind and touched him on the arm. With that, according to defendant, he "shook [the officer's] hands off." He then gave this version of the events that followed:
Q: Now when this incident allegedly happened with Officer Ducasé were there customers on the floor?
A: There was a lot of people.
Q: There was a lot of people around?
Q: At any point did you raise your voice?
A: I, when they can't give me a reason why I'm supposed to leave a casino and there were about 12 people there telling me to leave the casino it get a little loud 'cause I wanted to see the cops there at the time, so I tell them I don't want to speak to none of them. Get me ...