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State ex rel. Z.R.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 18, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF Z.R.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 17, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FJ-20-89-12.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Susan P. Gifis, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Grace H. Park, Acting Union County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Stacey E. Zyriek, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Messano and Hayden.

PER CURIAM

Following a bench trial, juvenile Z.R. was adjudicated delinquent of a charge which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted third-degree attempted aggravated assault. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7). The judge entered a dispositional order placing the sixteen-year-old juvenile in the Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program (JISP). The juvenile appealed, and we affirm.

We glean the following from the testimony at the trial. On March 29, 2011, in a high school cafeteria, sixteen-year-old A.P. was eating lunch when several other girls threw bread in her face. As A.P. attempted to leave, she was grabbed by her hair from behind. Several girls began hitting her, and threw her to the floor. A.P., who was a new student, was unable to identify the student who had initially attacked her or the other girls who joined the attack.

Terrence Davis, a school security officer, was in the cafeteria at the time and saw the attack begin. Davis summoned other officers for backup and intervened by attempting to shield A.P. from the attacking students. Despite Davis' presence and assistance, several students continued to repeatedly and aggressively punch A.P. When two other officers arrived, they managed to halt the attack.

Davis, who then took A.P. to the athletic office to meet with Vice Principal Dion Roach, observed that A.P. had scratches on the left side of her face. Next, A.P. went to the school nurse, Sharlenia Robinson, who examined her. A.P. stated that her head hurt, and Robinson provided an icepack. A.P. thought she lost consciousness briefly during the incident, but did not tell Robinson.

A.P. went to the hospital emergency room where she was given a CT scan. The hospital released A.P. after a few hours with directions to take ibuprofen as needed. The emergency room records stated that A.P. reported a loss of consciousness for a few seconds. The records indicated a final diagnosis of a "head injury" and "multiple contusions." After the incident, A.P. missed six days of school due to neck and head pain, depression, and difficulty concentrating.

Surveillance cameras in the high school cafeteria recorded the incident. In Davis' initial statement to police about the attack, he did not identify the juvenile as a participant, but told the police that he could not recall all the involved students' names. After Davis and Roach viewed the video numerous times on the day of the incident and on the following days, they were able to identify the juvenile and two other girls as A.P.'s principal attackers. Both Davis and Roach were certain of their identifications because of their daily contact with the individuals involved. They also made in-court identifications of the juvenile as one of the students who attacked A.P.

Robinson, who testified for the juvenile, stated that, in her examination of A.P., she observed that A.P. had lost some hair but did not have any abrasions on her face or scalp, and did not seem disoriented. Additionally, ...


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