October 2, 2017
appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division,
Camden County, Indictment No. 16-06-1879.
A. Shashoua, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for
appellant (Mary Eva Colalillo, Camden County Prosecutor,
attorney; Ms. Shashoua, of counsel and on the brief).
Y. Lerer, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause
for respondent (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney;
Ms. Lerer, of counsel and on the brief).
Judges Messano, O'Connor and Vernoia.
State appeals from a judgment of conviction sentencing
defendant Susan Hyland to special Drug Court probation,
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14. Because we conclude that we lack
jurisdiction to consider the State's appeal, we dismiss
March 2016, an automobile driven by defendant struck
sixteen-year-old Q.T. as he walked across a roadway. Q.T.
suffered spinal injuries that later caused his death.
Defendant, who did not have a valid driver's license, did
not stop or call the police. She took no action to get
assistance for Q.T. Instead, she fled the scene and went to a
friend's house, where they discussed burning her badly
damaged automobile and reporting that it was stolen.
niece, who was in the car when Q.T. was struck, called the
police, reported the incident and identified defendant as the
driver. The police determined defendant's location, found
the automobile and arrested her.
was charged in an indictment with second-degree knowingly
leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident, N.J.S.A.
2C:11-5.1, third-degree causing death while driving with a
suspended or revoked license, N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22(a), and
third-degree endangering an injured victim, N.J.S.A.
Camden County Prosecutor's Office recommended against
defendant's admission into Drug Court. The State
determined defendant was legally ineligible for a special
probation Drug Court sentence because it could not find that
defendant "would not be a danger to the community if
placed" in Drug Court. See N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(a)(9). The
State claimed "it is impossible to find that . . .
defendant is the type of non-violent offender for which
[D]rug [C]ourt was intended." Defendant appealed the
court ordered that defendant undergo a substance abuse
evaluation, which revealed defendant suffered from five
substance abuse disorders. The evaluator recommended that
defendant undergo intensive treatment and concluded defendant
was clinically eligible for admission into Drug Court.
the State's objection, the court determined defendant was
legally eligible for special probation. The court
observed that defendant was not charged with causing
Q.T.'s death, but instead for her actions after Q.T. was
struck. The court found that although defendant was not
charged with driving while intoxicated, there was a
connection between defendant's substance abuse and the
commission of the offenses. The court considered
defendant's prior record, noting her last criminal
conviction was sixteen years earlier in 2000 for criminal
trespass, and her "slew of arrests and convictions"
for motor vehicle and disorderly persons offenses. The court
found that defendant's prior record and "terrible
choices" after Q.T. was accidentally struck did not
establish that she would be a danger to the community if she
was admitted to Drug Court. The court entered an order
finding defendant was legally eligible for a special
probation Drug Court sentence under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14.
pleaded guilty to the charges in the indictment without the
benefit of a negotiated plea agreement. The State reserved
its right to object to defendant's admission into Drug
Court at sentencing.
sentencing, the court merged defendant's conviction for
third-degree endangering an injured victim with her
conviction for second-degree knowingly leaving the scene of a
fatal motor vehicle accident. The court sentenced defendant
to concurrent five-year special probation Drug Court terms on
her convictions. The court denied the State's motion for
a stay of sentence pending the State's appeal of
defendant's Drug Court sentence.
weeks later, the court granted defendant's motion for
post-conviction bail pending appeal and released defendant on
her own recognizance with the condition that she remain in an
inpatient substance abuse treatment facility until further
court order. We granted the State's request for a stay of
execution of defendant's sentence pending the State's
appeal, the State makes the ...