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State of New Jersey

January 30, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE INTEREST OF A.W.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Burlington County, Docket No. FJ-03-690-10.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: April 6, 2011

Before Judges Axelrad and R. B. Coleman.

A.W., a juvenile, appeals from an adjudication of delinquency for an act which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted third-degree aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5)(h), and the disposition of a two-year term at the Jamesburg Training School for Boys (Jamesburg). On appeal, A.W. argues the following points:

POINT I IT WAS HARMFUL ERROR TO DILUTE [A.W.'S] ABILITY TO CHALLENGE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE VICTIM (Partially raised below).

POINT II IT WAS PLAIN ERROR TO CONSIDER FACTS THAT ESTABLISHED ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED AS AGGRAVATING FACTORS IN DETERMINING THE JUVENILE'S SENTENCE (Not raised below).

POINT III THE SENTENCE IS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE.

From our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm.

I.

At the time of the offense, A.W. was a resident of Jamesburg.*fn1 The State presented the testimony of three correctional facility employees, Nurse Cynthia Brown, Officer Thomas Gawron, the victim, and Officer Kevin Fox. A.W. presented the testimony of two residents, V.L. (incorrectly appearing in the transcript as M.L.) and M.C. The salient facts, gathered from the trial transcripts, are the following.

Officer Gawron testified that while performing a mandatory search of A.W.'s room on August 17, 2009, he discovered and confiscated contraband, i.e., tobacco products and bottles of ink, presumably for tattooing. When he informed A.W. that he was filing contraband charges against him, the juvenile became irate, "ranting and raving," walking around with his "fists balled up," and said "he wasn't going to have this sh[-] and that he was going to f[-]k somebody up if necessary." Officer Fox observed A.W.'s behavior and heard his comments. He filed charges against A.W. for threatening to harm Officer Gawron.

The two officers testified that the following day, as they were leading the residents to their housing unit following morning mess, they reached the lobby area where there are no cameras, and A.W. attacked Officer Gawron. The officers testified that as A.W. was walking past Officer Gawron, the juvenile bumped into the officer. Officer Gawron responded by extending his left arm to create space between himself and A.W., and he directed the juvenile to get back. Instead, A.W. punched the officer in the jaw with his fist and continued to pummel him with his fists, kicking, and flailing. Both officers testified that Officer Gawron never struck A.W. and the officer only tried to restrain the juvenile by grabbing him by his upper torso and arms. The juvenile ignored all verbal commands of the officers to cease. Officer Fox was eventually able to restrain A.W. by locking his arms around the juvenile's ...


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