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Conviction for Terroristic Threats Reversed on Appeal

24
Jan
2010

by in Criminal Defense

The Appellate Division recently overturned this defendant’s conviction for Terroristic Threats on appeal because the trial court gave the jury improper instructions before its deliberation.

State v. Anthony Parisi, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-4660-07T4 (December 18, 2009) – Conviction for terroristic threats reversed.

“In this case, we conclude that errors in the charge on [N.J.S.A. 2C:12-]3a, although not the subject of an objection at trial, constituted plain error requiring reversal of the conviction and re-trial….

[T]he State’s case under both subsections 3a and 3b was premised on defendant’s alleged threat to kill DeCamp. The State did not argue that defendant was guilty because he cursed at DeCamp or pounded on the hood of her van, and neither of those actions are ‘crimes’ that would support a conviction under subsection 3a….

Nor did the judge explain to the jury the elements of ‘assault.’… Further, in defining N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b, the judge told them it was ‘different’ from 3a because 3b required a threat to kill. Consequently, the jury very well may have concluded that it did not need to find a threat to kill in order to convict defendant under 3a.”

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