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Conspiracy to Terroristic Threats Not a Lesser Charge

20
May
2010

by in Criminal Defense

State v. Frederick J. Massimi, Jr., unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-4424-07T4 (April 30, 2010) – Conviction Reversed. “[Defendant] was found guilty of conspiracy to commit terroristic threats as a lesser-included offense to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and 2C:12-3….

Defendant now argues that ‘conspiracy to commit a terroristic threat is not a lesser included offense of second degree aggravated assault [and] therefore, the trial court erred by finding Mr. Massimi guilty of the lesser included offense”….

As the decision to consider conspiracy to commit a terroristic threat was not considered at a charge conference, and defendant did not request or consent its consideration, it must be a true lesser-included offense in order to sustain the conviction….

[W]e agree with defendant that ‘[c]onspiracy to commit a terroristic threat is not a lesser included offense of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault because of the added element of the threat to commit a violent crime with the intent to terrorize.’ The relevant portion of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a requires such a threat to ‘commit [a] crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another….”

Certainly, a second degree aggravated assault is a crime of violence. It is found within Part 1, Subtitle 2 of the Code of Criminal Justice containing ‘offenses involving danger to the person.’ See also N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2d (the history of which reflects, by virtue of its pre-June 2001 provisions, application to second degree aggravated assaults). But while an aggravated assault may terrorize a victim, it need not do so and need not be performed with that purpose. Thus, while N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 follows the provisions of Chapter 12 of the Code of Criminal Justice dealing with aggravated assaults, it is not a lesser-included offense within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 2C:1-8d.”

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