Court Invalidates Part of Bias Intimidation Law in NJ
- February 22, 2013
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The NJ Appellate Division held that the defendant must have the intent to (1) commit a predicate offense, (2) intimidate the victim and (3) cause the victim to perceive bias as defendant’s motive. The decision renders N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1(a)(3) , which allows for conviction is the underlying offense caused the victim to be intimidated or “reasonably believe” the defendant’s purpose was to intimidate. In the case at hand, State v. Pomianek, a black man went into a storage closet at work with 2 white men who then walked out and closed the door, leaving the black man inside. Testimony indicated the defendants, Pomianek and Dorazo were considered “pranksters” at their workplace and this type of conduct was typical of them. The appeals court considered all circumstances and upheld the decision below finding defendant guilty of harassment but not bias intimidation. In making its decision, the court looked to Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), in which intent was found to be a critical element to a guilty finding in bias crimes. If you are facing criminal charges for unintentional bias intimidation, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on bias intimidation, juvenile crimes and other criminal law matters, in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.