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Michael Ippoliti v. New Jersey State Parole Board

July 29, 2011

MICHAEL IPPOLITI, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 11, 2011

Before Judges Alvarez and Ostrer.

Michael Ippoliti, an Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) inmate, appeals from the May 26, 2010 final administrative decision of the Parole Board (Board) affirming a two-member Board Panel's (Panel) decision denying him parole and imposing a twenty-month future eligibility term (FET). We affirm.

After a trial by jury, Ippoliti was convicted of one count of second-degree criminal attempt to commit a sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(4); second-degree attempt to lure or entice a minor into a motor vehicle, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6; third-degree attempt to endanger the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a); and fourth-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(3)(B). On our remand, Ippoliti was resentenced to concurrent terms resulting in an aggregate sentence of seven years on March 12, 2009.

The charges stem from Ippoliti's involvement with a sting operation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. Briefly, Ippoliti made contact via the internet with an individual he believed was a thirteen-year-old girl named "Julie." Ippoliti instigated sexual exchanges with her, including asking if she engaged in certain sexual activities and raising specific questions regarding her involvement with these activities.

Ippoliti arranged to meet Julie, saying they could just "hang out, shop and let other things fall into place . . . I am into whatever you can be . . . . Nothing freaky I assure you." Ippoliti suggested that he obtain a motel room for them to use.

After these plans were made, Ippoliti instructed Julie how to delete the files related to her contact with him from her Yahoo Messenger account. The day before the meeting was scheduled to take place, he wrote "if you want to rape me, you can go ahead and rape me, is that what you want me to say?"

At the agreed-upon time, Ippoliti appeared at the meeting place and was arrested. He thereafter admitted that he believed Julie was in fact a thirteen-year-old girl and acknowledged having sexually explicit internet exchanges with her. Ippoliti also said he hoped Julie would perform oral sex upon him during their encounter.

Ippoliti was not found to be a repetitive and compulsive offender requiring treatment at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, although he is currently serving his sentence there. See N.J.S.A. 2C:47-1. The psychological evaluation completed prior to his parole review indicated he presented a low risk of recidivism.

The two-member Panel conducted Ippoliti's parole hearing via video conferencing. When asked directly during the hearing, Ippoliti could not explain the reasons he committed the offense or even the reasons he would want to meet a thirteen-year-old girl. He denied, however, intending to engage in a sexual relationship with Julie, directly contradicting the internet conversations recorded by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and his own statements after arrest.

When asked repeatedly by the Panel members to explain his conduct, Ippoliti said he was "just curious" and that, although he had exercised terrible judgment, he never used sexually explicit language. He suggested his involvement with Julie was a result of him "feel[ing] real bad for her, saying she had no relationship with her father." He also claimed that he first asked to speak with Julie's mother when the two commenced their internet exchange.

The Panel found Ippoliti inappropriately minimized his behavior, lacked insight into his own conduct, and had engaged in "insufficient problem resolution." The Panel also acknowledged the mitigating factors relative to his situation: his lack of a prior criminal history, participation in such institutional programs as were available to him, and his attempts to enroll in other programs. Overall, however, ...


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