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State v. Urban

December 11, 2008


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Indictment No. 07-08-0708.

Per curiam.


Submitted November 13, 2008

Before Judges Lyons and Waugh.

This is an appeal by the State, pursuant to Rule 3:28(f), from an order admitting defendant Lanielle Urban into the Gloucester County Pretrial Intervention (PTI) Program over the objection of the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office. On appeal, the State contends that its decision to reject defendant from the PTI program was not a patent and gross abuse of its discretion and it was therefore error for the court to admit defendant into the PTI program over the State's objection. Based on our review of this woefully inadequate record and the applicable law, we conclude the prosecutor's decision to reject defendant's application, while deficient, was not a "patent and gross abuse of discretion," and we reverse the order admitting defendant into PTI and remand the matter to the trial court with instructions to further remand it to the prosecutor so that he can consider all of the relevant factors involved in defendant's application and then set forth his decision and reasons in writing as required by N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12(c).

We note at the outset that the record before us is meager. It does not contain defendant's PTI application, the Criminal Division's decision regarding defendant's entry into the PTI program, and, most importantly, does not contain a written decision together with the reasons therefore made by the prosecutor or the court as required by N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12(c). Moreover, while the State's brief sets forth a statement of facts, the facts are not "supported by references to the appendix and transcript" as required by Rule 2:6-2(a)(4). There is nothing in the appendix which supports the statement of facts. Likewise, there are no competent proofs*fn1 to support defendant's factual assertions in her brief.

The "facts" and procedural history relevant to our inquiry are as follows. On May 24, 2007, Officer Christopher Herner of the Glassboro Police Department was on routine patrol at approximately 12:24 a.m. when he was waved down by a group of people standing in the parking lot of a local bar.

Officer Herner approached the group and saw an intoxicated female, later identified as defendant, on the ground being detained by three or four of the bar employees. One of the employees related that she was out of control and that she had assaulted him. The employee did not want to press charges but just wanted her removed from the property.

The officer attempted to speak with defendant who immediately starting screaming at him. She said things such as, "You f****** pig, get way from me," and "Go f*** yourself, you f****** pig." After several attempts to calm her down, Officer Herner told her that if she did not calm down, she would be arrested. At that point, defendant kicked the officer right above his groin. As a result, Officer Herner attempted to place her under arrest. Defendant resisted by pulling her arms away and attempting to get away from the officer. After several minutes of struggling, Officer Herner was finally able to place her in handcuffs. While leading her back to his patrol vehicle, defendant yelled, "You f****** pig, I f****** hate you, I hope you f****** die you c*** s*****." She then spit in the officer's ear.

Once back at the station, defendant continued to yell at other officers and, once placed into a holding cell, she began slamming her head on the walls of the cell. After being charged, she posted bail and was released.

Defendant claims at the time of the alleged incident she was inordinately intoxicated. She believes that a toxic substance was surreptitiously placed in her drink by one of the bar's patrons. Defendant asserts that she has no recollection of the events of the evening in question.

Following the incident, defendant was indicted in a three-count indictment charging one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault on a police officer, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5)(a), one count of fourth-degree throwing bodily fluids, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-13, and one count of third-degree resisting arrest, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(3)(a).

On September 17, 2007, defendant applied for the PTI program and the Criminal Case Management Office made a referral for defendant's admission into PTI.

Upon review of the matter, the Prosecutor's Office rejected defendant's application for PTI. As stated earlier, there is no documentation in this record regarding this. Defendant's counsel claims he was informed by the Prosecutor's Office of the rejection and that the reason communicated to ...

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