State v. T.B.
Appellate Docket No.: A-2417-18T2
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In an unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division of New Jersey heard argument on the issue of an application by a Defendant for post-conviction relief (PCR).
In State v. T.B., the Defendant assaulted his girlfriend in her apartment during an argument. He repeatedly punched and kicked her. He slammed her head against a wall and burned her face and body with a hot iron. The victim fled and was taken to the hospital.
The victim provided a detailed statement to medical personnel and the police. Pictures were taken of her injuries. Her medical records described her as awake, alert, and oriented. Police retrieved the iron used in the assault.
The State presented its evidence to the grand jury, including the victim’s statement to police, the photographs, and the police report. The victim declined to testify at the grandy jury. She claimed she was threatened her children may be taken away if she refused to testify.
The grand jury indicted the Defendant on on second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1) (count one); third degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(2) (count two); third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a) (count three); third degree criminal restraint, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2(a) (count four); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count five); and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count six). Defendant pled guilty to counts one, three, and six.
Defendant filed his PCR petition, arguing his conviction should be vacated because the victim was sedated and heavily medicated in the hospital, leading her to give a false statement. Defendant also argued the indictment should be dismissed as a result of prosecutorial misconduct, as the prosecutor threatened the victim with having Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) take her children if she did not cooperate.
The Appellate Division agreed with the Trial Court that the victim was not coerced into making her statement to the police, as her medical records indicated that she was awake, alert, and oriented. Defendant’s argument for prosecutorial misconduct was also denied, as the grand jury indicted the Defendant on evidence other than victim’s statement, including photographs and the police statements.
Defendant’s PCR petition was denied.
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