July 24, 2012
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
ASWAD S. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 09-09-1593.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted June 6, 2012
Before Judges Graves and J. N. Harris.
On February 16, 2010, when he was nineteen years old, defendant pled guilty to third-degree aggravated assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7) (count one of Indictment No. 09-09-1593 as amended). Pursuant to the negotiated plea agreement, the State agreed to dismiss the second count of the indictment, which charged defendant with robbery, and further agreed defendant would receive a concurrent sentence for violating probation. The plea agreement also provided that the State was "free to speak" at sentencing. On April 9, 2010, the court sentenced defendant in accordance with the agreement to a four-year prison term for aggravated assault and to a concurrent eighteen-month term for violating probation.
Defendant presents the following arguments on appeal:
THE PLEA LACKED A SUFFICIENT FACTUAL BASIS. POINT II
THE SENTENCING COURT DID NOT ARTICULATE THE WEIGHT ATTRIBUTED TO EACH SENTENCING FACTOR AND FAILED TO CONSIDER APPLICABLE MITIGATING FACTORS.
After considering these contentions in light of the record and the applicable law, we affirm.
Defendant was initially charged as a juvenile with committing various acts of delinquency. However, the State sought a waiver of Family Part jurisdiction and a referral to the Law Division pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26. After conducting a waiver hearing, the Family Part judge concluded the evidence was insufficient to find probable cause and dismissed the juvenile complaint. The State appealed, and we found there was no basis in the record for denying the motion for waiver and referral. Accordingly, we reversed and the matter was remanded to the Law Division for further proceedings. State ex rel. A.W., No A-5399-07 (App. Div. May 13, 2009). The State's proofs were summarized in our prior unpublished opinion and need not be repeated here.
A person is guilty of third-degree aggravated assault if he "[a]ttempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury." N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7). In this case, defendant acknowledged during his plea hearing that he had just gotten out of school when he approached the victim (a stranger who was "holding onto somebody that [defendant] knew") and threw him on the ground. In addition, defendant stipulated that the victim's injuries were significant.*fn1 Thus, there was an adequate factual basis to establish a knowing or purposeful assault that caused significant injury to the victim.
Defendant also challenges his sentence. However, based on his prior juvenile delinquency adjudications, his violations of probation, and his conviction for resisting arrest, we are satisfied there was a sufficient factual foundation for imposing a sentence at the mid-point of the range for third-degree aggravated assault.