On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 09-06-2330.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 28, 2012 -
Before Judges Messano and Espinosa.
Following a bench trial, defendant Tameka L. Hardison was convicted of fourth-degree aggravated assault on a police officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5) (count one), third-degree terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(a) (count two), and the disorderly persons offenses of obstructing justice, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1(a), and disorderly conduct, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2(a). At sentencing, the judge merged the two disorderly persons offenses into count one and imposed a five-year probationary sentence, a condition of which included 364 days in the Camden County Correctional Facility. On count two, the judge imposed the same sentence to run concurrently with the sentence on count one.
Defendant raises the following points on appeal:
POINT I: THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE (NOT RAISED BELOW)
POINT II: THE FINDING OF GUILT MUST BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE DOES NOT SUPPORT A FINDING THAT [DEFENDANT] COMMITTED AGGRAVATED ASSAULT
POINT III: THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED THE LAW AND SHOULD HAVE ENTERED A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL ON THE CHARGE OF FOURTH[-]DEGREE AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, SUA SPONTE, BECAUSE THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, THAT ABBOTT HAD SUFFERED SERIOUS BODILY INJURIES
POINT IV: THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED THE LAW BY IMPOSING AN EXCESSIVE SENTENCE
Having considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards, we affirm.
The testimony at trial revealed that Sergeant James Michael Abbott, the patrol supervisor of the Somerdale police department, was on duty during the evening of May 22 into the early morning hours of May 23, 2009. He responded in full uniform to "a noise complaint coming from" defendant's apartment. After speaking to defendant and having her lower the volume of her music, Abbott resumed patrol. Shortly thereafter, he received another call to return to the location because there was a fight between defendant and her neighbors.
Abbott arrived at about the same time as fellow officer Jacob Henry Rulli. It was after midnight, and the officers responded to apartment 303, the Milton residence. As they spoke to the Miltons, defendant exited her apartment across the hall. Defendant stated "she was going to . . . f---ing kill Mr. Milton and she was going to bring her people from Camden . . . to take care of it." The hallway was only five feet wide, and defendant was "agitated, extremely angry, [and] acting in a very violent manner towards" Milton. Abbott calmed defendant down and ordered her back into her apartment.
As the officers took additional information from the Miltons, defendant re-emerged screaming. Abbott positioned himself to keep defendant from getting at the Miltons. Defendant ran at Abbott "full force" with "both hands up with fists," and struck him in the chest. Abbott advised defendant she was under arrest. With Rulli's assistance and while she ...