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State of New Jersey v. Paul Grassi

January 9, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PAUL GRASSI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Municipal Appeal No. 28-09.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 27, 2011

Before Judges Yannotti and Espinosa.

Defendant was convicted in municipal court and in the Law Division of simple assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a)(1). He challenges his conviction in this appeal. We affirm.

The evidence presented in municipal court can be summarized as follows.

Defendant and his sister, Judy Grassi, resided at the same address. Judy*fn1 testified that, at approximately 4:45 p.m. on September 20, 2008, she was in the laundry room when defendant entered through the front door. He angrily yelled at her, "get out, get out . . . or I'll throw you out[.]" Judy told defendant she was not leaving and attempted to change the subject and return to the work she was doing. Defendant again said, "get out." Judy said, "I'm not going anywhere, I'm not done with what I'm doing."

Judy testified that defendant grabbed her by both arms and dragged her from the back of the house through four rooms to the front door. As he opened the door, she tried to shut the door behind him, but he was still holding one of her arms and was able to stop her. Judy then told defendant she wanted to wash up because her knees were "really raw[.]" Defendant told her she had to leave and pushed her out of the house.

After calling her sister, Judy called the police at about 5:15 p.m. They arrived at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Patrolman Steve Harrington of the Toms River Police Department testified that he was dispatched to the Grassi residence that day and observed Judy, visibly upset, with some injuries to her knees. He asked defendant what had happened. Defendant said that he just did not want his sister living at the house any more and did not go into any further detail. Harrington then arrested defendant.

Defendant, who appeared pro se in the municipal court, did not testify or present any evidence.

On April 15, 2009, the first day of trial, defendant asked for an adjournment because three witnesses were not subpoenaed by the court. He identified the witnesses as persons who would provide an alibi by testifying he was in a diner at approximately 2:00 p.m. on September 20, 2008. The municipal court judge explained to defendant that he was responsible for service of subpoenas upon his witnesses. The judge denied the request for an adjournment but stated that the matter would proceed through the State's case and then recess until another date so defendant could subpoena his witnesses.

Defendant also objected that the State had failed to provide him with discovery. The prosecutor represented that the discovery, including photographs to be used as evidence, was provided to defendant by letter dated November 5, 2008.

Defendant maintained that he had not received all of the discovery and specifically, had not received the photographs in question. The municipal court judge instructed the prosecutor to provide defendant with a copy of all the discovery in court. The judge announced he would take a twenty-minute recess to allow defendant to review the discovery. The judge stated further that if defendant felt he could proceed after his review, the case would proceed and, if not, an adjournment would be granted. After the recess, the prosecutor represented that he provided defendant with a copy of the November 5, 2008 cover letter and all its attachments, photographs he intended to use as evidence, a copy of the reports prepared by Patrolman Harrington and a copy of the summons and complaint. Defendant stated he could not proceed because he was unable to read through the approximately fifty pages he had received. He continued to object that the State had not provided discovery within ten days of ...


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