New Jersey Juvenile found guilty of burglary and sexual assault, despite previous friendship with victim

A New Jersey appellate court recently upheld the conviction of a juvenile for acts which would have constituted third degree burglary and second degree sexual assault if he were an adult. He was sentenced to three years of probation, with a suspended sentence of three years at a juvenile training school. The case, State ex. Rel. T.W., can be viewed here.


The juvenile, T.W., was accused of climbing through a girl’s window and having sexual intercourse with her while she was sleeping. The girl, M.M., was 16 years old, and had known T.W. for a long time. Before that night, she had considered him a friend, and he frequently spent time at the house, sometimes even sleeping there. Just after M.M. woke up and found T.W. in her room, her cousin and three other acquaintances arrived, and she told them what had happened. The commotion woke up M.M.’s mother, B.B., who then questioned T.W. about what had occurred. B.B. claimed that T.W. admitted to her that he climbed through M.M.’s window and “did it to her.”


To sustain a charge of third degree burglary, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actor entered a structure that he was not permitted to enter, and that he did so with the intent to commit an offense. N.J.S.A. § 2C:18-2. For a charge of second degree sexual assault, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actor engaged in sexual penetration without the victim’s freely given consent.  N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2.


On appeal from his conviction, T.W. claimed that he was allowed to enter M.M.’s house without her permission, based on prior occasions when he had done so, and he emphasized that the state had presented no physical or forensic evidence to support the allegation of sexual assault. But the court ruled that these arguments were insufficient, and concluded that the evidence proved the elements of burglary and sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the court affirmed the adjudication of delinquency.


It is very important to hire a juvenile interrogation rights attorney because getting in trouble as a juvenile is a scary ordeal, and if the charge isn’t handled properly, it can leave a harrowing mark on a young person’s future. If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense, you can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney  at 1-866-664-8118 for a free consultation. With more than 35 years of experience, I have successfully tried hundreds of juvenile court cases both as a county prosecutor and as a private defense attorney. I can help you to understand the charges that your child faces, and I can give you an honest assessment of the possible penalties and consequences.  And even if you decide not to retain my services, the consultation is entirely confidential, so you can get answers to important questions about what’s ahead for your child. Contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 and get the results you need to get your child’s life back on track.