On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, FJ-09-1886-07, FJ-09-1883-07, FJ-09-1885-07, FJ-09-1882-07, and FJ-09-1880-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 15, 2007
Before Judges Collester and C.S. Fisher.
The State appeals pursuant to Rule 2:3-1(b)(1) from the dismissal of the juvenile complaints against S.B., J.G., M.E., J.N., and D.H. Following receipt of the State's brief, counsel for juvenile M.E. filed a brief in opposition in which juveniles S.B., J.G., and J.N. join. On August 7, 2007, we granted partial dismissal of the appeal as to the juvenile D.H.
Juvenile complaints were filed against each of the five juveniles charging the offenses of second-degree robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, second-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1), and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2. According to the State's version of events, at about 7:40 p.m. on December 28, 2006, the five juveniles assaulted and robbed Liu Yi, a delivery person for the Sky Dragon Chinese Restaurant, in front of 195 Custer Avenue in Jersey City. It so happened that five Jersey City police officers were on surveillance in the area, and the officers witnessed the robbery. All five juveniles were apprehended after attempting to flee.
March 12, 2007 was the first trial date on the juvenile complaints. All of the juvenile defendants were present in court with their attorneys and ready to proceed. The State's police witnesses also appeared. At approximately 9:15 the assistant prosecutor noticed that the victim was not present and requested Detective Khalil Hassan to call the victim. Detective Hassan placed calls to the Yi's Jersey City home and the restaurant where he worked but was unable to locate him. At about 9:45 Detective Hassan left the prosecutor's office to search for Yi.
At about 10:25 the case was called for trial. The trial assistant prosecutor had just received word from her trial partner that Detective Hassan had found the victim who had "car trouble."*fn1 The following colloquy then took place:
MS. KAZANCHY: Your Honor, at this time the State is respectfully requesting an adjournment. I would like to address the opportunity to put my reasons on the record.
THE COURT: As you know, at 9:00 the schedule was for. And this is a difficult trial to schedule, because I have five . . . attorneys. I have five young people. I have five sets of parents. We have a Mandarin interpreter at your request. All at the ready since 9:00 this morning, so -
MS. KAZANCHY: I understand, Judge.
THE COURT: So, what's the problem?
MS. KAZANCHY: If I can just put it on the record. On 9:45 when I saw that my victim was not here, I had had contact with this victim. He's come in every time on time. On the day I spoke to him -
THE COURT: Was he subpoenaed?
MS. KAZANCHY: Yes. He spoke -
THE COURT: A real subpoena? Did he get a ...