Dismissal Of an Indictment Reversed Even Though the Defendant Had Been Deported

State v. C.A.T-P

Appellate Docket No.: A-1543-20

Decided August 30, 2021

Submitted by New Jersey New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division of New Jersey reversed a dismissal of an indictment even though the defendant had been deported and the witness to alleged domestic violence no longer wished to testify.

In State v. C.A.T-P, the State’s charges stem from an incident that occurred during the early morning hours of November 23, 2019, when officers from the North Plainfield Police Department responded to a local residence based upon a report of an assault potentially involving a handgun. The officers met with the victim, M.A.N-Z., who advised them that she lived with defendant, her boyfriend, and their infant child. She also informed the officers that defendant had taken the child to their neighbor’s apartment.

M.A.N-Z. stated that defendant physically assaulted her after her friend left the apartment earlier that night, and in response to her friend allegedly insulting defendant. She explained that while in the common hallway defendant pushed her against the wall and strangled her, obstructing her breathing. The officers observed visible marks on her neck, which they photographed.

After defendant unsuccessfully attempted to break down the bathroom door, he left the residence. At that point, M.A.NZ. left the bathroom where she encountered defendant who had returned to the apartment. Defendant allegedly retrieved a handgun from the bedroom, showed it to M.A.N-Z. and stated, “I have a gun.” M.A.N-Z. again fled to the bedroom, locked the door, and screamed for help.

Defendant was charged and indicted with 1) third-degree aggravated assault— strangulation, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(13); 2) third-degree aggravated assault— significant bodily injury, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(12); 3) fourth-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3(b)(2); and 4) fourth-degree unlawful possession of a prohibited device—hollow point bullets, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(f)(1).

The motion judge, on a motion by defendant, dismissed the indictment on two grounds. First, he concluded it was in the “interests of justice” to dismiss the charges as the State’s ability to establish defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt would “ultimately fail” because defendant was deported and not presently located in the United States and the victim, M.A.N-Z., expressed her intention not to testify against him. Second, the court noted that defendant was available for a “considerable amount of time” before being deported and the State failed to take appropriate measures to secure his appearance for trial prior to his removal from the United States.

The State appealed. The Appellate Division held that the trial court abused its discretion by anticipating the State’s case ahead of trial.  The trial court failed to consider the true legal burden – that the State had made a prima facie showing as to each of the elements of the charges to the grand jury for the indictment.  As a result, the Appellate Division reversed the dismissal.

If you or someone you know have been charged with any indictable offense or disorderly persons involving a domestic violence incident, contact the experienced attorney at Hark & Hark to ensure you are adequately defended, otherwise you could have negative impacts on your case like the defendant above.

At Hark & Hark, we represent clients in Superior Court for criminal matters like the present case. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to uphold their constitutional rights, and ensure law enforcement follow proper procedures to legally make an arrest.


We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing criminal charges similar to this circumstance, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington ,Haddon Heights ,Pine Hill ,Bellmawr ,Haddon Township , Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.


Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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