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State of New Jersey

January 8, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF Q.M.


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FJ-20-1778-10.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 13, 2012

Before Judges Ashrafi and Hayden.

Juvenile Q.M. appeals the October 20, 2010 adjudication of delinquency for acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

We discern the following facts from the record. On March 28, 2010, the owner of a convenience store in Elizabeth was in the store when a group of about fifteen youths entered the store and began putting bags of chips and other food items in their jackets. She called the police and a local councilman, Manny Grova, and directed her employee to stand at the exit door and prevent the youths from leaving. When the employee tried to stop the youths, one of them, wearing a red jacket, pushed her and slapped her in the face.

When the juveniles left, the women watched them proceed down the street. Grova arrived within minutes, spoke to the women and then headed in the direction of the youths. The employee had told him that her assailant was wearing a red jacket. The police soon arrived and also proceeded after the youths. During the pursuit, Grova and the police followed a few of the youths into a backyard, where they found a red jacket on the ground. Nearby they found Q.M. and another youth crouching behind a fence. Q.M., who Grova recognized from a youth basketball tournament, asked for his red jacket back. The police took the two youths into custody but did not find any food items from the store on them.

The officers returned immediately to the store with the two youths and asked the owner and the employee if they recognized them and which one had slapped the employee. Both witnesses identified the youths as having been in the store with the group taking food. The employee identified Q.M. as her assailant. A few days after the showup identification, she gave the police a description of the youth who struck her, which did not match Q.M.'s height or hairstyle. At the juvenile's trial several months later, the employee identified Q.M. as the person who struck her, but the owner identified the other juvenile the police brought to the store as the person who struck the employee.

In his oral decision on October 13, 2010, the trial judge described in detail the elements the state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for second-degree robbery. He reviewed the facts of the case and found both women to be credible witnesses. He found that Q.M. had entered the store, stolen items and struck the employee in furtherance of the theft. Consequently, he adjudicated Q.M. guilty of second-degree robbery. Shortly thereafter, the judge sentenced him to fifteen months probation, required forty-five hours community service and a letter of apology to the victim, and imposed the requisite fines. This appeal followed.

On appeal, Q.M. raises the following contentions for our consideration.

POINT I - THE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONDUCT A WADE HEARING AND DEFENSE COUNSEL WAS CONSTITUTIONALLY INEFFECTIVE IN FAILING TO MAKE THE APPROPRIATE APPLICATION DENYING

THE JUVENILE HIS RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS. U.S. CONST. AMENDS. VI AND XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947), ART. I, PARS. 1 AND 10. (NOT RAISED BELOW).

POINT II - THE MATTER SHOULD BE REMANDED FOR THE COURT TO EXPLAIN WHETHER IT CONSIDERED THE APPLICABLE LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE OF ...


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