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State of New Jersey v. Pontell C. Bryant

January 10, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PONTELL C. BRYANT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 08-12-1389.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Telephonically Argued December 15, 2011

Before Judges Messano and Yannotti.

Following a jury trial, defendant Pontell C. Bryant was convicted of fourth-degree aggravated assault by throwing bodily fluid at certain law enforcement officers, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-13, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison with a nine-month period of parole ineligibility. Defendant raises the following issues on appeal:

POINT I

THE DEFENDANT'S CONVICTION MUST BE REVERSED SINCE THE TRIAL COURT DEPRIVED HIM OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS IN DENYING HIS REQUEST FOR A CONTINUANCE TO PRODUCE DEFENSE WITNESS MR. WESLEY BETHANY FOR TESTIMONY AT TRIAL

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT IMPOSED AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE, NECESSITATING REDUCTION We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.

I.

We briefly recite the substantial evidence of defendant's guilt adduced at trial.

On September 27, 2008, defendant was an inmate at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility, where he was assigned to work in the kitchen daily between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Sergeant Brian Darcy discovered defendant in the area of the kitchen before his shift began and ordered him to return to his wing. Defendant left the immediate area but was soon discovered in a stairwell of the facility. Darcy decided to initiate disciplinary action against defendant and handcuffed him with the assistance of Officer Ronnie Livingston.

In accordance with institutional procedures, Livingston and two other officers took defendant to the medical wing of the facility where he was evaluated and cleared to be taken to detention. As the officers escorted defendant to the detention area, he was able to loosen their grip on his arms. Defendant ran toward Darcy, who was standing at a podium, and spat in his face. Darcy, Livingston, and a third officer, Tracy Generals, all testified to these events.

Defendant and his grandmother, Paulette Bryant, testified as defense witnesses. Defendant admitted arriving at work early, not returning to his cell as Darcy commanded and waiting, instead, in the stairwell. He claimed that when he slowed down to speak to Darcy at the podium, the other ...


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