On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Middlesex County, Docket Nos. FJ-12-0535-10-J, FJ-12-0764-10-J, FJ-12-0536-10-J and FJ-12-0768-10-J.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wefing, P.J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Wefing, Payne and Koblitz.
The opinion of the court was delivered by WEFING, P.J.A.D.
The State appeals, pursuant to leave granted, from trial court orders denying its motion pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26 to transfer jurisdiction over juveniles A.D.#1 and A.D.#2 from the Family Part to the Law Division, Criminal Part.*fn1 After reviewing the record, in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we reverse.
Both juveniles were charged in separate complaints with the following acts of delinquency: conspiracy to murder Angel Vasquez, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3; hindering the apprehension of another, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7); murder of Angel Vasquez, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a; attempted murder of Luis Vasquez, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3; aggravated assault of Lourdes Diaz, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1); possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a; unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; and hindering one's own apprehension, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(4).
The record before us consists of statements obtained by the police during the course of their investigation, testimony presented by the State in support of its waiver application, exhibits that were received into evidence at that hearing, and the trial court's written opinion setting forth its findings and conclusions that led it to deny the waiver application. Although the statements of the witnesses are not entirely consistent with respect to certain details, the record presents the following factual background. We consider it necessary to set forth the facts in some detail.
The charges against A.D.#1 and A.D.#2 are based upon an incident that occurred on August 19, 2009, in Woodbridge at a house in which A.D.#2 lived with his extended family. A.D.#2 lived in the basement apartment with his parents, Lourdes and Bienvenido and his sister, Kimberly. His grandparents, Lourdes's parents, lived on the first floor, together with three of their young grandchildren. A.D.#2's uncle, Luis Vasquez, lived on the third floor, together with his girlfriend, Amanda. Luis was sometimes referred to as "Luigi," but we will, for purposes of this opinion, use only the name Luis.
These individuals did not comprise the entirety of A.D.#2's extended family. He had another uncle on his mother's side, Angel. Angel did not live in Woodbridge with the rest of the family but lived in Keyport with his wife Beatrice. In addition, A.D.#2 had an older sister, Ruthy, who lived in Perth Amboy with her son, A.D.#1. Thus, despite the fact that A.D.#2 was only nine days older than A.D.#1, he was A.D.#1's uncle. At the time of the incident, both were seventeen years old. A.D.#2 turned eighteen on the day after this incident occurred, August 20, while A.D.#1 became eighteen nine days later, on August 29.
A.D.#1's father is also named Angel; his surname is Ramos. He did not live with A.D.#1's mother but with his second wife, Melanie. According to the record presented to us, he is an important personage in a street gang known as the Latin Kings and is, on occasion, referred to as King Angel and King D. For ease of understanding, we shall refer to him in this opinion as Ramos.
Although A.D.#2 and his uncle Luis lived in the same house, they did not get along, and A.D.#2 intensely disliked his uncle. Whether accurate or not, A.D.#2 thought that Luis had struck both his parents and that one of Luis's cousins, Angel Alvarado, ...