On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FJ-20-2086-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 6, 2011
Before Judges Payne and Messano.
Juvenile appellant, K.R. (fictitiously, Kate), appeals from an adjudication of delinquency, following trial of charges that, if she had been an adult, would have constituted second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1). An eighteen-month term of probation, with conditions, was imposed.
On appeal, Kate raises the following arguments:
POINT I THE TRIAL JUDGE'S VERDICT OF GUILT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE. (NOT RAISED BELOW.)
POINT II THE PROSECUTOR'S REFERENCES TO [L.J.], THE STATE'S EYEWITNESS, AS A WITNESS WHOM THE STATE NEVER PREPARED, INTERVIEWED OR EVEN CONFERRED WITH PRIOR TO HER SWORN TESTIMONY WAS AN ATTEMPT BY THE PROSECUTOR TO IMPROPERLY BOLSTER THE CREDIBILITY OF A STATE'S WITNESS AND CONSTITUTES PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT AND IS GROUNDS FOR REVERSAL.
POINT III THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED THE RULES OF EVIDENCE BY PERMITTING THE ADMISSIBILITY OF AN ALLEGED EXCITED UTTERANCE DURING THE TESTIMONY OF [KATE'S MOTHER].
POINT IV THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED HIS DISCRETION IN SENTENCING THE JUVENILE TO AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE.
Trial of charges of robbery and aggravated assault against Kate and her co-defendant, T.S. (fictitiously, Terry), was conducted jointly in the Family Part in this matter. At that trial, evidence was presented by the victim, M.M. (fictitiously, Martha), that on April 28, 2009 at 7:45 p.m., she exited a store approximately two blocks from her home after purchasing ice cream at the request of her mother. As she stood in front of the store talking to her friend, L.J. (fictitiously, Linda), a four-door gray car with black tinted windows pulled up. Kate stepped out of the car and punched Martha in the face, causing her to fall to the ground, where the fight continued. Shortly thereafter, Terry also got out of the car and commenced kicking Martha, who remained on the ground and eventually passed out for approximately one minute. When she regained consciousness, Martha reached for her sidekick cell phone, which lay at her side. However, at this point S.S. (fictitiously, Sara) got out of the car, snatched the phone, worth approximately $265, and pulled Kate off Martha. The aggressors then returned to the car and left the scene. During the fight, Kate had grabbed a Tiffany & Co. bracelet worth approximately $700 from Martha's wrist that Martha had just received from her father as a present. Neither the phone nor the bracelet was returned.
The fight was observed by Linda who, by Martha's account, held the ice cream that Martha had just purchased. After Terry joined the fray, Linda threw the ice cream into the gutter and then assisted Martha in defending herself and in getting up off the ground at the conclusion of the fight. In a subsequent ...