On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Indictment No. 06-03-0398.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 6, 2011
Before Judges Payne and Messano.
On June 18, 2008, defendant Deidra Ann Bewley pled guilty to a single-count indictment charging her with third-degree theft, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3(a). She was admitted to the Morris County Pre-trial Intervention program (PTI) and all further proceedings were postponed for a period of twelve months. Specific conditions imposed upon entry into PTI included the payment of fines and restitution at the rate of $50 per month and fifty hours of community service.
Defendant's failure to comply with these conditions resulted in administrative hearings on October 6, 2008, and April 29, 2009. At the latter, in an attempt to gain her compliance, the term of defendant's PTI supervision was extended for an additional twelve months.
In November 2009, the probation officer assigned to defendant's case recommended her termination from PTI based upon her failure to report since April, make any payments after July and perform her community service. An administrative hearing was set for December 7; defendant failed to appear, and an order of termination was issued. The judge issued a warrant for her arrest.
Defendant voluntarily surrendered on March 1, 2010 and appeared before a different Law Division judge on March 5. Defense counsel sought an adjournment of defendant's sentence to present evidence why she failed to appear at the administrative hearing and comply with the conditions of PTI. Defense counsel explained the proffer as follows:
[Defendant] has provided me with proof that within a very short period of time, and during all of this time where the violation occurred, she lost her mother, her father, her step-father, her uncle . . . and her cousin . . . . And I have proof of all of that as well.
I also have proof that she herself was admitted to the hospital during this same time period and was given discharge instructions in regards to her own hospitalization and she . . . now has the care of her 91-year old grandmother, who was also hospitalized and needs therapy.
Defense counsel sought additional time to file a motion for reconsideration of defendant's termination from PTI. The judge denied defendant's request, noting: PTI had been extended on one . . . prior occasion.. . . .
[L]et me also . . . say that I am certainly sympathetic to Ms. Bewley's position. It is not easy to lose a loved one and Ms. Bewley was faced with numerous people in her family that she lost and the Court is . . . certainly sympathetic to that. . . . [S]he also had her gallbladder out . . . but her gallbladder was out after the Administrative Hearing was scheduled, almost a month later. And then . . . nearly another two months went by . . . and there was no reporting or phone calls or anything to advise as to her whereabouts. She certainly knew of the Administrative Hearing. So, for those reasons, I am going to deny the request . . . .
Defendant was sentenced to eighteen months probation, ordered to pay the balance of her restitution obligation, and appropriate ...