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State of New Jersey v. Joyce E. Marvasi

May 4, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOYCE E. MARVASI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Municipal Appeal No. 09-09.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 27, 2010

Before Judges Fuentes and Ashrafi.

Defendant Joyce Marvasi was tried before the Cherry Hill Municipal Court and found guilty of two counts of the disorderly persons of offense of resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29- 2a(1)(a), one count of the disorderly persons offense of simple assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), and one count of the petty disorderly persons offense of disorderly conduct, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-1(a)(1). The municipal court acquitted defendant of one count of simple assault, and imposed an aggregate sentence of a $1,000 fine, $66 in court costs, and $250 in statutory penalties.

Pursuant to Rule 3:23-2, defendant appealed to the Superior Court Law Division. After conducting a de novo review of the record developed before the municipal court, the Law Division found defendant guilty of all the charges and imposed the same sentence. Defendant now appeals to this court. We affirm.

The charges filed against defendant originate from an encounter she had with Cherry Hill Police Officers Ryan Johnstone and Marianne Carlin in the early morning hours of February 21, 2008. On this date, these officers were dispatched to defendant's residence to execute a warrant for defendant's arrest issued by the Palmyra Police Department. Cherry Hill Police Officers Kevin Guldin and Richard McLaughlin were also present in a supervisory capacity.

Johnstone and Guldin first responded to defendant's residence shortly after midnight on February 21, 2008, in response to what Johnstone characterized as "a dispute between defendant and her husband." Although the record is not entirely clear on what transpired next, it appears that the husband left the residence he shared with defendant, and decided to stay with a relative in the Borough of Palmyra. It further appears that defendant's husband filed a complaint with the Palmyra Police Department that resulted in the issuance of a warrant for defendant's arrest.

Officers Johnstone, Carlin, Guldin, and McLaughlin drove to defendant's residence to execute the arrest warrant.

Defendant's eighteen-year-old son answered the door. The officers advised him that they had a warrant for his mother's arrest. Defendant's son informed them that his mother was in the basement. The officer directed defendant's son to stay upstairs while they went to the basement.

Defendant was on the telephone with a representative of the Palmyra Police Department when the officers entered the basement area. It is undisputed that defendant was intoxicated at the time and appeared to be angrily denying her husband's allegations against her. Johnstone explained to defendant that they were there to execute the arrest warrant and that she was required to comply. Despite this clear command from a uniformed police officer, defendant physically resisted the officers' attempts at restraining her with handcuffs. Johnstone gave the following description of what transpired:

While Ms. Marvasi was trying to pull her hands away from the officers['] grasps, we were standing next to a bed that was in the basement. When Ms. Marvasi was flaring her hands around and then trying to gain control of her, . . . she eventually got pushed on top of the -- I'm not sure if she fell or was pushed on top of the bed to try and gain control of her.

We tried to get her hands behind her. She was pushed face down, her legs were off the bed, I remember. She was face down on the bed and her hands were underneath her; we were trying ...


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