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State ex rel P.A.

December 2, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF P.A., JUVENILE-APPELLANT.


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FJ-20-1525-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 22, 2008

Before Judges Payne and Lyons.

This is an appeal by a juvenile, P.A., from an adjudication of delinquency for what would have been, if committed by an adult, attempted robbery (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and 15-1), possession of a handgun without a permit (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)) and possession of a handgun with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4).

We affirm. The following factual and procedural history is relevant to our consideration of the issues advanced on appeal.

On January 31, 2007, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Elizabeth Police Officers Raul Delaprida, Frank Idrovo and Edward Benenati were on patrol in an unmarked vehicle. Officers Delaprida and Benenati observed P.A. and another juvenile, T.D., walking down North Broad Street, approximately fifteen to twenty feet apart from each other. Both youths were dressed alike in black overalls. The officers watched as both P.A. and T.D. crossed the street and donned black ski-hats that covered their heads and necks but left their faces exposed.

The officers observed as P.A. and T.D. approached a taxi stand and went inside. The officers parked in the taxi stand's lot, and Officers Delaprida and Benenati exited their vehicle while Officer Idrovo remained inside. The two officers approached the building and peered through the store front windows. From there they could see P.A., T.D. and the cab dispatcher, who was the only other person inside the taxi stand.

Unbeknownst to the officers, the dispatcher had earlier received three telephone calls, all from the same number. The caller did not respond when she answered each of these calls.

The dispatcher believed that the caller had a bad connection and could not hear her. Finally, the caller, who was later identified as P.A., got through to the dispatcher and requested that she send a taxi to pick him up at the Wendy's restaurant approximately one block away from the taxi stand. The dispatcher contacted a taxi driver and sent him to the Wendy's.

P.A. and T.D. entered the taxi stand shortly after making this phone call. T.D. informed the dispatcher that they were the customers who had just called. At his request, the dispatcher contacted the taxi driver she had sent to the Wendy's and informed him that P.A. and T.D. were now waiting for the cab at the taxi stand. She then went back to answering phones while P.A. and T.D. stood in the customer area, waiting for their taxi.

The area of the taxi stand that P.A. and T.D. occupied was approximately four feet wide by ten feet long. The dispatcher was separated from this customer area by a wooden and glass wall. The lower portion of the partition was made of wood and measured about one meter high. The rest of the wall, up to the ceiling, was made of glass. The dispatcher was seated and working at a desk, and could only see people on the other side of the partition from the waist up.

After the dispatcher directed her attention back to her work, P.A. and T.D. turned their backs to her and faced the glass storefront of the taxi stand, where Officers Delaprida and Benenati were standing, looking inside. Officer Delaprida observed P.A. look back over his left shoulder at the dispatcher and then reach for a handgun from inside his clothing with his right hand. P.A. held the gun against his chest with the barrel pointed towards the floor. Officer Delaprida then whispered "gun" to Officer Benenati and the two rushed inside, followed soon thereafter by Officer Idrovo. The officers arrested ...


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