Fox 29’s Bob Kelly’s Attacker Pleads Guilty in Cape May County, NJ for Sea Isle Assault – Probation, county jail or New Jersey state prison?
What happened to Fox 29’s Bob Kelly in this case?
Recently, Patrick Iannone, pled guilty to assaulting Fox 29 TV reporter Bob Kelly in Cape May County, New Jersey. Iannone pled guilty to aggravated assault, which was graded as a crime of the 3rd degree in New Jersey. Prior to the plea, Iannone, through his criminal defense lawyer, attempted to obtain the Pre-Trial Diversion (PTI) program but the prosecution rejected the application. It appears that Iannone was rejected based on alleged prior criminal history and Kelly’s objection to his admission to this diversion program.
While Iannone could face jail time for this assault, there is a presumption against state incarceration (aka state prison). His sentencing is scheduled for February 12, 2024.
Kelly allegedly sustained “significant bodily injuries,” from the attack which formed the basis for the plea in Cape May County. Kelly’s injuries include an eye injury and a cut above his eye which left a scar. Some of our readers have asked about the difference between aggravated assault and simple assault in New Jersey.
Here is what you need to know about the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault in New Jersey!
What is Simple Assault?
One of the most common offenses that our law firm defends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is assault. Assault is divided into simple and aggravated assault under 2C:12-1 in New Jersey. A simple assault is when a person attempts to cause or purposely knowingly or recklessly causes a bodily injury to another. A simple assault is also if a person negligently causes bodily person to another with a deadly weapon. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless it is committed in a fight or a scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey.
In Pennsylvania, a simple assault (Title 18, Section 2701) is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree unless it is a result of mutual scuffle, in which case it is misdemeanor of the third degree. A person can also be charged with a simple assault if he or she recklessly causes a bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. In this situation, it is a crime of the fourth degree.
What is Aggravated Assault
Iannone was charged with aggravated assault. Unlike a simple assault, an aggravated assault in New Jersey is an indictable crime. A person who is guilty of an aggravated assault after he or she causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another. An aggravated assault is also cause if a person or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. An aggravated assault in New Jersey is a crime of the second degree if the Court finds that a person caused serious bodily injury.
It is a crime of the third degree if a person attempts to cause serious bodily injury or only bodily injury with a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon can be practically anything in New Jersey, just like Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, similar to New Jersey, classifies aggravated assault (Title 18, Section 2702) based on the circumstances surrounding the incident; it’s a felony grade crime in the Commonwealth.
Assaults involving members of a Protected Class
While Bob Kelly is a TV personality and a borderline celebrity, he is NOT a member of a protected class! This is a good thing from a defense standpoint. Like Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, if a person commits an assault or attempts to commit an assault against a member of a protective class, like a police office, EMS, or a firefighter, the State (New Jersey) only needs to establish bodily injury as opposed to serious bodily injury. In this situation, a person would be charged with a crime of the third degree (indictable crime.) This distinction is very important.
Maximum Punishments For Crimes & Offenses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
The maximum punishment for a crime of the second degree is ten (10) years of State incarceration and five (5) years of State incarceration for crimes of the third degree. While crimes of the fourth degree carry with them a maximum of punishment of eighteen (18) months of State incarceration.
The maximum punishment for a felony of the second degree is 10 years and 7 years for a felony of the 3rd degree. Misdemeanors crimes in Pennsylvania still subject a person to a possible state prison sentence—Misdemeanor of the first degree (5 years); Second Degree (2 years) and 3rd degree (1 year)
Disorderly offenses carry with them a maximum punishment of six (6) months of county incarceration and a $1,000.00 fine, while petty disorderly offenses carry with thirty (30) days of county incarceration and $500.00 fines.
Why couldn’t Patrick Iannone obtain Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) in this case?
Pre-trial intervention (PTI) is a diversion program in New Jersey which allows a person to avoid a criminal conviction and be eligible for an expungement following completion of a program. Like Pennsylvania’s ARD program a person’s admission into the program is largely based on the prosecutor (assistant district attorney) discretion and the courts review of the matter. Like ARD in Pennsylvania, PTI is usually reserved for less serious offenses (misdemeanors), but this doesn’t mean that a person charged with a felony offense (indictable crime) in New Jersey is automatically ineligible for the program.
Here, Iannone was likely rejected from this program because Kelly wasn’t agreeable to it. While Iannone was charged felony level offense in New Jersey, this would not have disqualified him from consideration.
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