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State v. W.R.C.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 1, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
W.R.C., Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 14, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Warren County, Indictment No. 10-02-0050.

Scott M. Wilhelm argued the cause for appellant (Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Wilhelm, of counsel and on the brief; Jennifer L. Toth, on the brief).

Emily R. Anderson, Deputy Attorney General argued the cause for respondent (Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney; Ms. Anderson, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Graves, Espinosa and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from his convictions for second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). The charges arose from allegations that he touched his four-year-old daughter's vagina. The theory of the defense was that defendant's ex-wife, D.C., influenced their daughter, T.C., to make a false allegation against him and that the allegation mirrored D.C.'s experience of sexual abuse as a child. In this appeal, he challenges the denial of his motions to permit a marriage counselor to testify at trial without limitation by the marriage counselor privilege, N.J.S.A. 45:8B-29; N.J.R.E. 510. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Defendant presents the following arguments for our consideration:

POINT I
DEFENDANT'S APPEAL SHOULD BE GRANTED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE.
POINT II
RAYMOND BIERSBACH, PH.D. SHOULD HAVE BEEN PERMITTED TO TESTIFY REGARDING STATEMENTS MADE DURING THE DEFENDANT AND [D.C.'S] MARRIAGE COUNSELING AS PART OF THE DEFENDANT'S DEFENSE.
POINT III
THE TRIAL COURT INCORRECTLY CLASSIFIED THE MOTION-IN-LIMINE AS A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.
POINT IV
THE TRIAL COURT'S RELIANCE ON STATE V. ROMA [1] IN DENYING THE MOTION-IN-LIMINE IS MISPLACED.
POINT V
THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT'S DECISION IN STATE V. MAUTI [2] SHOULD BE APPLIED TO DEFENDANT'S CASE.
POINT VI
THE RULES OF EVIDENCE DO NOT PROHIBIT DR. BIERSBACH FROM TESTIFYING.
POINT VII
APPELLATE REVIEW IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT DEFENDANT'S LIBERTY INTEREST.

Because defendant's appeal is grounded in his challenge to the court's decision not to allow the marriage counselor to testify unfettered by the marriage counselor privilege, we tailor our ...


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