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State v. Walker

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


August 3, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LAMONT WALKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
GLORIA WALKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Municipal Appeal Nos. 4768 and 4769.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 22, 2010

Before Judges Fisher and Reisner.

These two appeals, which we have consolidated for purposes of this opinion, arise from the same set of facts. On an appeal from a municipal court conviction, the Law Division convicted defendant Lamont Walker of defiant trespass, N.J.S.A. 2C:18- 3b(1); and offensive language, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2b. The Law Division also convicted defendant Gloria Stewart Walker of simple assault on a police officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1); defiant trespass, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3b(1); and offensive language, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2b.*fn1 We affirm.

This case arises out of a May 21, 2006 incident at a Boys and Girls Club in Clifton. On the day of the incident, a sign in the reception area of the club's swimming pool indicated a time for "open swim."*fn2 Defendants, whose children were not members of the club, brought their children into the pool and, when approached by club officials, claimed they thought "open swim" meant they did not have to pay to use the pool. When club officials explained otherwise, and offered to let them stay if they filled out a membership application, defendants unleashed a torrent of profanity and racially abusive epithets and refused to either fill out an application or leave the premises.

Eventually, defendants had to be removed by the police, who had been called to the scene. At the police station, Gloria punched a police officer and struggled with several other officers.

In a thoughtful written opinion, filed on February 27, 2009, Judge Guzman found that both defendants' conduct constituted defiant trespass. He also concluded that they violated the offensive language statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2b, when they repeatedly screamed profane and obscene language in the presence of numerous young children at the pool, causing the children to be "visibly upset and crying." He acquitted Gloria of assaulting two of the police officers with whom she had struggled, but found beyond a reasonable doubt that she assaulted a third officer by punching him forcefully in the chest with intent to physically injure him. On this appeal, Lamont Walker raises the following point for our consideration:

POINT I: TO ESTABLISH CULPABILITY IN A CRIMINAL CASE, THE STATE MUST SHOW THAT A DEFENDANT HAS A CRIMINAL STATE OF MIND.

Gloria Walker raises the following appellate contentions:

POINT I: THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE DEFENDANT ACTED WITH THE INTENT REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION FOR SIMPLE ASSAULT.

POINT II: THE CONVICTION FOR SIMPLE ASSAULT MUST ALSO BE OVERTURNED AS THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE DEFENDANT'S ACTIONS RESULTED IN BODILY INJURY TO OFFICER HASSELBERGER.

POINT III: DEFENDANT'S PRESENCE AT THE BOYS CLUB AND FAILURE TO LEAVE THE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY DID NOT CONSTITUTE DEFIANT TRESPASS.

POINT IV: THE ALLEGEDLY OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE UTILIZED BY THIS DEFENDANT DID NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL PROHIBITED BY THE STATUTE AND DID NOT RESULT IN AN IMMEDIATE BREACH OF THE PEACE.

Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we conclude that defendants' appellate arguments are all without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm on both appeals, substantially for the reasons stated in Judge Guzman's thorough and well-reasoned opinion.

Affirmed.


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