On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 28, 2009
Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.
Defendant Raymond V. Lucy appeals the Law Division's November 31, 2008, order granting the State's application for an order prohibiting the return of certain firearms. We affirm.
In January 2008, Lucy was the owner of four firearms that he had lawfully purchased in the State of Connecticut. At that time, the firearms were located at his residence in North Plainfield. They were removed by members of the North Plainfield Police Department on January 9, 2008, as the result of a 9-1-1 call made by Lucy's wife, Amy Marcus.
According to Lucy's testimony, he had driven the firearms to his mother's home in Connecticut on January 8, intending to leave them there in anticipation of a job interview with the United States Border Patrol. However, he testified that he got a late start because of "discussions" with Marcus that "led to some hurt feelings back and forth." Although he had intended to stay overnight with his mother, Lucy decided not to disturb her because he arrived at her home at about 10:30 p.m. Consequently, he returned to his home in North Plainfield with the firearms.
Lucy arrived home early on the morning of January 9. He and his wife "entered directly back into the argument." At some point, Marcus left the bedroom to get a heating pad, and when she returned "the argument started again." According to Lucy, he said: "[W]hat if I had a gun to my chin now, what would that make you do?" Marcus then left the room again, and Lucy followed her into the living room. He described her as using the antenna of a cordless telephone as "a teacher with a pointer in [his] face." He became "agitated" and "took the phone out of her hand and broke it."
Marcus's testimony was different:
A. There had been a lot of different issues that went on. I know Ray hadn't slept for a couple of days. I didn't sleep the night before. But basically he wanted to go up to Connecticut. He discussed that with me. To see his family. I pretty much refused and we had had issues with me going up to see his family. That was an issue of contention. And that started to escalate a lot of different things. He did go up to Connecticut. We have one car. So there's that -- that's part of the issue too. I --I spent time with a male friend of mine who I had had relations with many years ago and that also escalated the situation.
Q: And when was that? What --
A: While he was up in Connecticut. So, with all of that going on and us having had history of lots of arguments and lack of sleep and not knowing how to handle a situation, there was a big blow up when he got back. I actually convinced him to come back because he wasn't going to come back, and he was just going to sleep wherever. It was -- it was one of those situations, and he came back and the argument just exploded from there. And we were saying things that just got out of hand.
Marcus further testified that, after she returned to the bedroom with the heating pad and the argument continued, Lucy was in bed with the covers pulled up. He asked her: "What if I had a gun to my chin right now?" She demanded several times that he pull the covers down, but he refused. Marcus then left the room. When Lucy followed her, he had nothing in his hands. However, when the police subsequently retrieved the firearms, they found one of them, a loaded Ruger pistol, underneath the mattress in the couple's bedroom.
Marcus also testified that when they were in the living room, Lucy opened a sliding door and shouted: "I told my wife I wanted to kill myself and she doesn't care, she told me to do it." She then picked up the telephone to call the police, telling Lucy what she was going to do. She testified that he grabbed the phone out of her hand and broke it. She was eventually able to call 9-1-1 from another telephone. The police report for the incident related the following interchange between Marcus and the investigating officer:
Upon my arrival, I spoke with Amy Marcus, who related that she was engaged in a verbal argument with her husband, Raymond Lucy, over personal matters when Lucy went into their bedroom. Lucy then yelled, "I'm laying in the bed with a 9MM and I'm going to blow my head off." Marcus related that she called the police when Lucy opened the sliding glass door and yelled, "I'm going to kill myself." Marcus related that Lucy is Bi-Polar, and she is afraid that he may hurt himself because he owns several firearms.
The police eventually retrieved four firearms from the couple's bedroom. Two flintlock pistols and "a loaded Bersa cal. 380 ACP pistol" were found in a black handbag in the closet. And, as previously mentioned, a "loaded cal. 40 Ruger F94 pistol" was found under the mattress of the couple's bed.
Lucy was evaluated by the psychiatric emergency screening services at Somerset Hospital, after which he was treated on an in-patient basis at the Carrier Clinic for eleven days. The treatment at Carrier was voluntary, although ...