The Atlantic County Superior Court concluded with the following in relevant part: The Ortisi court was satisfied that the evidence would permit the jury to infer that both victims were aware of the defendant’s threats. Although it is unclear whether the present child’s knowledge of defendant’s threats is required, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, the grand jury could have reasonably inferred that the child was made aware of the threats when she was sent to stay with her grandmother. Whether or not the child knew of the threat, it was made with the purpose to intimidate her mother.
As to the elements of bias intimidation, “with purpose to intimidate” or “with knowledge,” State v. Pomianek (2015), the State is not required to produce witnesses to testify to a defendant’s state of mind at the time of a particular act. Rather, a grand jury may make reasonable inferences about a defendant’s state of mind based upon evidence presented by the State. The State provided adequate evidence that defendant repeatedly posted threatening messages on A.P.’s meetme.com pictures. Again, the State’s evidence to the grand jury indicated that defendant made these posts because of his distaste for interracial relationships and children. It was not unreasonable for the grand jury to infer that defendant knowingly threatened A.P. and her daughter because of his racial prejudice. Therefore, the State presented sufficient evidence to sustain a charge for second degree bias intimidation.
Sufficient evidence was presented to establish all elements of bias intimidation pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1(a)(2). For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss counts one and four of the indictment is denied.
The State likely argued that the defendant’s own statements were sufficient to infer his criminal intent. These statements were likely elicited by detectives who tricked the defendant into making them under the guise of their sympathizing with his beliefs.