Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. Appointments can be scheduled at 732-572-0500. He is author of the ABA's book "Criminal Law Forms".
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
http://www.njlaws.com/

Friday, April 13, 2018

CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF DRUGS IN A CRIMINAL CASE REQUIRES THE STATE TO PROVE INTENT TO EXERCISE PHYSICAL CONTROL

CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF DRUGS IN A CRIMINAL CASE REQUIRES THE STATE TO PROVE INTENT TO EXERCISE PHYSICAL CONTROL


        In State v. Reeds  197 NJ 280 (2009)  the NJ Supreme Court stated:
Plainly, such possession can be constructive, meaning that "`although [a defendant] lacks physical or manual control, the circumstances permit a reasonable inference that [the defendant] has knowledge of its presence, and intends and has the capacity to exercise physical control or dominion over it during a span of time.'" State v. Lewis, 185 N.J. 363, 371 (2005) (quoting State v. Spivey, 179 N.J. 229, 236-37 (2004) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted)). 
              Mere presence in a car or house is not sufficient for constructive possession.

              "For this offense the state must prove three material elements.  First, it must be proved that the item is a controlled dangerous substance. Second, it must be proved that defendant either obtained or possessed the substance.  Third it must be proved that defendant acted knowingly or intentionally."  33 N.J. Practice §521 p.475.

              The state must prove that the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally.  The state must prove that defendant knew the nature and character of the item, and it must prove that defendant's purpose in possessing the substance.  33 N.J. Practice §520 p.471 (1982).

              Possession is the intentional control of an item accompanied by an awareness of its character.  Constructive possession is when the defendant is aware of the substance and has an intention to exercise control over the substance.  State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

              Joint possession is when people knowingly share control over the article.  State v. Raja, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975).

              It is an offense to knowingly or intentionally obtain or possess a controlled dangerous substance.  N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a.  "The state must prove knowledge or intent on the part of the defendant.  Knowledge means that the defendant was aware of the existence of the object and was aware of its character.  Intent means it was the defendant's purpose to obtain or possess the item while being aware of its character.  State v.   McMenamin, 133 N.J. Super. 521, 524, 337 A. 2d 630, 631 (App. Div. 1975); State v. Brown, 67 N.J. Super. 450, 455, 171 A. 2d 15, 18 (App. Div. 1961).

              Mere presence in a premises with other persons where controlled dangerous substances are found is not sufficient to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance.  State v. Sapp, 71 N.J. 476, 477, 366 A. 2d 334, 335 (1976), overruled on other grounds by State v. Brown, 80 N.J. 587, 404 A. 2d 1111 (1979).

              The state must prove that the defendant was aware of the character of the substance to prove that the defendant acted with knowledge.  State v. Reed, 34 N.J. 554, 557, 170 A. 2d 419, 421 (1961); State v. Rajnai, 132 N.J. Super. 530, 536, 334 A. 2d 364, 367 (App. Div. 1975).

         " Mere presence at or near the scene does not make one a participant in the crime, nor does the failure of a spectator to interfere make him/her a participant in the crime.  It is, however, a circumstance to be considered with the other evidence in determining whether he/she was present as an accomplice.  Presence is not in itself conclusive evidence of that fact.  Whether presence has any probative value depends upon the total circumstances.  To constitute guilt there must exist a community of purpose and actual participation in the crime committed." 

         "Mere association, acquaintance, or family relationship with an alleged conspirator is not enough to establish a defendant’s guilt.  Nor is mere awareness of the conspiracy.  Nor would it be sufficient for the State to prove only that the defendant met with others, or that they discussed names and interests in common.  However, any of these factors, if present, may be taken into consideration along with all other relevant evidence in your deliberations."

         See also U.S. v. Idowu 157 F. 3d 265 (3rd Cir. 1998) - holding that joint / constructive / actual possession and knowledge that something illegal was going on is insufficient. Prosecution must prove that you had specific knowledge that the bag contained heroin and not something else illegal!


        Please forward to me all documents which you have in your possession or which are in the possession of any law enforcement agency or the complainant  pertaining to my client which prove he possessed any CDS. Demand is made for a speedy trial.   If the Prosecutor has any questions I would be glad to speak with them.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Shoplifting penalties if charges are not dismissed 2c:20-11

Shoplifting penalties if charges are not dismissed
2c:20-11  …..
 (2) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the third degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500 but is less than  $75,000, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $1,000.



(3) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the fourth degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is at least $200 but does not exceed $500.


(4) Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $200.

     
Mandatory Community service if found guilty:
Any person convicted of a shoplifting offense shall be sentenced to perform community service as follows: 
for a first offense, at least ten days of community service; 
for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service; 
and for a third or subsequent offense, a maximum of 25 days of community service and any person convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days.

Criminal Indictable and Disorderly Offense  Penalties

Disorderly person criminal offenses- ex Simple Assault, shoplifting & cases in Municipal Court
                                Jail 2C: 43- 8       jail  6 month maximum
                                                           probation 1-2 year                      
                                                           community service  180 days maximum 
                                                           mandatory costs, VCCB and other penalties
Disorderly- fines:          2C: 43- 3        $1,000 Fine  maximum              

         There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal cases.  There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter.   

         Indictable Criminal Penalties    [Felony type]  [ Superior Court]
                                         Jail  potential       Fine max         Probation
         1st degree           10- 20 years            $200,000        [presumption of jail]
         2nd degree          5-10 years               $150,000        [presumption of jail]
         3rd degree           3- 5 years                $15,000          1 year- 5 year
         4th degree           0- 18 months           $10,000          1 year- 5 year

         There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal case.  There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter.


         If you or a family member are charged with a criminal offense, you should retain an experienced criminal attorney to argue to reduce the penalties! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

no expungement here for endangering welfare IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR THE EXPUNGEMENT OF THE CRIMINAL RECORD BELONGING TO J.W.


IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION
FOR THE EXPUNGEMENT OF THE
CRIMINAL RECORD BELONGING TO J.W.
_____________________________

           Submitted January 25, 2018 – Decided February 26, 2018

           Before Judges Simonelli and Haas.

           On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,
           Law Division, Bergen County.SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
                                     APPELLATE DIVISION
                                     DOCKET NO. A-1730-16T3

            NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
                   APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

PER CURIAM

      The State of New Jersey appeals from the November 17, 2016

Law   Division   order    granting     respondent     J.W.'s    petition        for

expungement of all records relating to her arrest and conviction

for third-degree endangering the welfare of a child for causing
the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected

child, 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a).           We conclude that the 2016 amendment

to   the    expungement         statute,    

expungement of J.W.'s conviction.                Accordingly, we reverse.

     J.W. was a nanny for two children, ages one and three.                       On

August     10,    2007,    she    dosed    the    children    with   Benadryl,    an

antihistamine drug, by adding it to their apple juice.                           The

incident came to light when a friend of J.W. divulged the incident

to his therapist.         J.W. was charged under 

two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child by

abuse or neglect.         On February 27, 2008, J.W. pled guilty to one

count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child by abuse

or neglect. The trial court imposed a three-year term of probation

subject to 180 days in the county jail.

     At     the    time    of    J.W.'s    conviction,       

provided as follows:

             Any person having a legal duty for the care
             of a child or who has assumed responsibility
             for the care of a child who engages in sexual
             conduct which would impair or debauch the
             morals of a child, or who causes the child
             harm that would make the child an abused or
             neglected child as defined in [
             1, 
N.J.S.A. 9:6-3 and N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21] is
             guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any
             other person who engages in conduct or who
             causes harm as described in this subsection
             to a child under the age of [sixteen] is guilty
             of a crime of the third degree.

                                           2                               A-1730-16T3
          [(Emphasis added).]

The expungement statute in effect at the time of J.W.'s conviction

provided as follows:

          Records of conviction for the following crimes
          specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal
          Justice shall not be subject to expungement:
          [
N.J.S.A.]     2C:11-1     et   seq.    (Criminal
          Homicide), except death by auto as specified
          in [
          (Kidnapping); section 1 of [N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6]
          (Luring or Enticing); section 1 of [N.J.S.A.]
          2C:13-8    (Human    Trafficking);     [N.J.S.A.]
          2C:14-2 (Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual
          Assault); [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:14-3 a. (Aggravated
          Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a
          minor, [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:14-3b (Criminal Sexual
          Contact); if the victim is a minor and the
          offender is not the parent of the victim,
          [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or
          [
N.J.S.A.]    2C:13-3    (False    Imprisonment);
          [
N.J.S.A.]    2C:15-1     (Robbery);    [N.J.S.A.
          2C:17-1    (Arson    and    Related    Offenses);
          [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:24-4 a. (Endangering the welfare
          of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which
          would impair or debauch the morals of the
          child); [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:24-4 b(4) (Endangering
          the welfare of a child); [
          b.(3) (Causing or permitting a child to engage
          in a prohibited sexual act); [
          4 b.(5)(a) (Distributing, possessing with
          intent to distribute or using a file-sharing
          program to store items depicting the sexual
          exploitation or abuse of a child); [N.J.S.A.]
          2C:24-4 b.(5)(b) (Possessing items depicting
          the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child);
          [
N.J.S.A.]    2C:28-1    (Perjury);    [N.J.S.A.]
          2C:28-2 (False Swearing); [
          b.(4) (Knowingly promoting the prostitution of
          the actor's child); section 2 of [N.J.S.A.
          2C:38-2] (Terrorism); subsection a. of section
          3   of   [N.J.S.A.    2C:38-3]    (Producing   or
          Possessing    Chemical     Weapons,    Biological

                                 3                            A-1730-16T3
          Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices);
          and conspiracies or attempts to commit such
          crimes.

          [
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-29(b) (emphasis added).]

    In 2013, the Legislature amended 

forth the crime of endangering the welfare of a child in two

separate paragraphs:

          (1) Any person having a legal duty for the
          care   of  a   child   or  who   has   assumed
          responsibility for the care of a child who
          engages in sexual conduct which would impair
          or debauch the morals of the child is guilty
          of a crime of the second degree. Any other
          person who engages in conduct or who causes
          harm as described in this paragraph to a child
          is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

          (2) Any person having a legal duty for the
          care   of  a   child   or  who   has   assumed
          responsibility for the care of a child who
          causes the child harm that would make the
          child an abused or neglected child as defined
          in [
          N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21] is guilty of a crime of the
          second degree. Any other person who engages
          in conduct or who causes harm as described in
          this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime
          of the third degree.

          [(Emphasis added.)]

    In   2016,   the   Legislature   amended   

provide as follow:

          Records of conviction for the following crimes
          specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal
          Justice shall not be subject to expungement:
          [
N.J.S.A.]    2C:11-1   et    seq.   (Criminal
          Homicide), except death by auto as specified

                                     4                          A-1730-16T3
in [
N.J.S.A.] 2C:11-5 and strict liability
vehicular homicide as specified in section 1
of [N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.3]; [
(Kidnapping); section 1 of [N.J.S.A. 2C.2C:13-
6] (Luring or Enticing); section 1 of
[N.J.S.A.   2C:13-8]     (Human    Trafficking);
[
N.J.S.A.]   2C:14-2     (Sexual    Assault    or
Aggravated Sexual Assault); subsection a. of
[
N.J.S.A.]   2C:14-3     (Aggravated     Criminal
Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor,
subsection b. of [
Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor and
the offender is not the parent of the victim,
[
N.J.S.A.] 2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or
[
N.J.S.A.]   2C:13-3    (False    Imprisonment);
[
N.J.S.A.]   2C:15-1    (Robbery);     [
2C:17-1   (Arson    and    Related     Offenses);
subsection    a.    of    [N.J.S.A.]      2C:24-4
(Endangering the welfare of a child by
engaging in sexual conduct which would impair
or debauch the morals of the child, or causing
the child other harm); paragraph (4) of
subsection    b.    of    [N.J.S.A.]      2C:24-4
(Photographing or filming a child in a
prohibited sexual act); paragraph (3) of
subsection b. of [
or permitting a child to engage in a
prohibited sexual act); subparagraph (a) of
paragraph (5) of subsection b. of [
2C:24-4 (Distributing, possessing with intent
to distribute or using a file-sharing program
to   store   items    depicting     the    sexual
exploitation    or   abuse     of    a    child);
subparagraph   (b)    of   paragraph     (5)   of
subsection    b.    of    [N.J.S.A.]      2C:24-4
(Possessing or viewing items depicting the
sexual exploitation or abuse of a child);
[
N.J.S.A.]   2C:28-1    (Perjury);     [
2C:28-2 (False Swearing); paragraph (4) of
subsection b. of [
promoting the prostitution of the actor’s
child); section 2 of [N.J.S.A. 2C:38-2]
(Terrorism); subsection a. of section 3 of
[
N.J.S.A. 2C:38-3) (Producing or Possessing
Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear

                       5                            A-1730-16T3
              or Radiological Devices); and conspiracies or
              attempts to commit such crimes.

              [(Emphasis added).]

       In August 2016, J.W. filed a petition for expungement pursuant

to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(a)(2).       The trial court granted the petition,

finding the 2016 amendment to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) did not prohibit

expungement      for   convictions    for     the   nonsexual      offense     of

endangering      the   welfare   of   a   child     by   abuse    or   neglect.

Distinguishing In re Expungement of W.S., 

(App. Div. 2004), the court noted that the crime of endangering

the welfare of a child by abuse or neglect was not a lesser

included offense of endangering the welfare of a child by sexual

conduct, and the two crimes differed in both the nature of the

offense, collateral consequences, and penalties.                The court found

that    the   pre-amended   expungement      statute     only    prohibited     a

conviction for endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in

sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the moral of a child.

       The court noted that the Legislature amended 

4(a) into two subsections and inserted the term "causes harm" in

both, meaning the "harm" in subsection (1) refers to harm caused

by sexual conduct, whereas the "harm" in subsection (2) refers to

harm caused by nonsexual conduct.           The court then interpreted the

parenthetical language in the 2016 amendment to 


                                      6                                 A-1730-16T3
2(b), "or causing the child other harm," as referring only to

other harm resulting from sexual conduct under 

4(a)(1).     In reaching this conclusion, the court relied on the

Senate     Judiciary     Committee's   statement     commenting    that      the

function of the 2016 amendment was to "update, using the accepted

current citation format, the statutory citations for the list of

criminal convictions that are not subject to expungement; such

updating    does   not   add   any   additional    crimes   to   this    list."

Statement of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Assembly Bills 206,

471, 1663, 2879, 3060 and 3108 (May 7, 2015).          The court concluded

that if a conviction for a nonsexual offense under 

4(a) was eligible for expungement prior to the 2016 amendment and

the Legislature's intent was not to add any additional crimes to

the list of crimes barred from expungement, a conviction for a

crime under 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) for nonsexual conduct which makes

the child abused or neglected is still eligible for expungement.

We disagree.

     Our review of a trial court's statutory interpretation is de

novo.    Beim v. Hulfish, 
216 N.J. 484, 497 (2014).          "In construing

a statute, our 'overriding goal is to determine as best we can the

intent of the Legislature, and to give effect to that intent.'"

Bermudez v. Kessler Inst. for Rehab., 



                                       7                                A-1730-16T
3 Div. 2015) (quoting State v. Hudson, 
209 N.J. 513, 529 (2012)).

As our Supreme has held:

            When   interpreting    a  statute,   our  main
            objective is to further the Legislature's
            intent. To discern the Legislature's intent,
            courts first turn to the plain language of the
            statute in question. In reading the language
            used by the Legislature, the court will give
            words their ordinary meaning absent any
            direction   from   the   Legislature   to  the
            contrary. 'If the plain language leads to a
            clear and unambiguous result, then [the]
            interpretive process is over.'

                 Where the plain meaning does not point
            the court to a 'clear and unambiguous result,'
            it then considers extrinsic evidence from
            which it hopes to glean the Legislature's
            intent. Included within the extrinsic evidence
            rubric are legislative history and statutory
            context, which may shed light on the drafters'
            motives. Likewise, interpretations of the
            statute and cognate enactments by agencies
            empowered   to    enforce   them   are   given
            substantial deference in the context of
            statutory interpretation.

            [TAC Assocs. v. N.J. Dep't of Envtl. Prot.,
            
202 N.J. 533, 540-41 (2010) (alteration in
            original) (citations omitted).]

     "The    Legislature's   intent   is    the   paramount   goal   when

interpreting a statute and, generally, the best indicator of that

intent is the statutory language."         DiProspero v. Penn, 
 477, 492 (2005).    Thus, "[t]he plain language of the statute is

our starting point."   Patel v. N.J. Motor Vehicle Comm'n, 200 N.J.




                                  8                              A-1730-16T3
413, 418 (2009).        In considering a statute's language, we are

guided by the legislative directive that

           words and phrases shall be read and construed
           with   their   context,  and   shall,   unless
           inconsistent with the manifest intent of the
           legislature or unless another or different
           meaning is expressly indicated, be given their
           generally accepted meaning, according to the
           approved usage of the language.      Technical
           words and phrases, and words and phrases
           having a special or accepted meaning in the
           law, shall be construed in accordance with
           such technical or special and accepted
           meaning.

           [N.J.S.A. 1:1-1.]

"Courts may not rewrite a plainly written law or presume that the

Legislature intended something other than what it expressed in

plain   words."    In    re   Plan   for   Abolition   of   the   Council   on

Affordable Hous., 
214 N.J. 444, 468 (2013).            "If the language of

a statute is clear, a court's task is complete."            Ibid.

     The Legislature's stated purpose in enacting 

2 was to

           provid[e] relief to the reformed offender who
           has led a life of rectitude and disassociated
           himself with unlawful activity, but not to
           create a system whereby persistent violators
           of the law or those who associate themselves
           with continuing criminal activity have a
           regular means of expunging their police and
           criminal records.

           [N.J.S.A. 2C:52-32.]



                                      9                              A-1730-16T
3 N.J.S.A.     2C:52-2      "serves      to    'eliminate     "the   collateral

consequences imposed upon otherwise law-abiding citizens who have

had   a   minor   brush   with   the   criminal   justice    system.'"     The

Legislature intended the statute to 'provid[e] relief to the one-

time offender who has led a life of rectitude and disassociated

himself with unlawful activity[.]'"             In re Expungement of J.S.,


223 N.J. 54, 66 (2015) (quoting In re Kollman, 

(2012). Nevertheless, the statute provides a list of crimes barred

from expungement.      

      Here, the plain language of 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) unambiguously

prohibits the expungement of J.W's conviction.            The 2016 amendment

explicitly prohibits the expungement of convictions pursuant to

"subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4[.]"              At the time of J.W.'s

conviction, 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-2(a) specified that a person was guilty

of endangering the welfare of a child if he or she "engage[d] in

sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of a child,

or . . . [caused] the child harm that would make the child an

abused or neglected child[.]"               The parenthetical in the 2016

amendment to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) refers to endangering the welfare

of a child by either engaging in sexual conduct that would impair

or debauch the morals of a child or causing the child "other harm."

Given that the only "other harm" referred to in the pre-amended


N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) related to conduct that made a child abused

                                       10                             A-1730-16T3
or neglected, the "other harm" specified in the parenthetical of

the 2016 amendment to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) must refer to "harm that

would make the child an abused or neglected child" under 


     The "other harm" in the parenthetical of the 2016 amendment

cannot refer back to harm caused by sexual conduct or to the

impairment or debauchment of a child's morals because the rules

of statutory interpretation require that statutes be construed in

a manner that gives effect to every word so no part is rendered

superfluous.   Otherwise, if we adopted J.W.'s reading of 

2C:52-2(b) and found that "other harm" refers to only harm from

sexual conduct, the statute would become redundant.

     "Punctuation is part of an act and may be considered in its

interpretation." In re Estate of Fisher, 

(App. Div. 2015).   "The word 'or' in a statute is to be considered

a   disjunctive   particle   indicating   an   alternative."       Ibid.

(citation omitted).   Thus, where "items in a list are joined by a

comma . . ., with an 'or' preceding the last item, the items are

disjunctive," or "distinct and separate from each other." State

v. Frank, 
445 N.J. Super. 98, 106 (App. Div. 2016).            Here, the

phrases "who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or

debauch the morals of a child" and "who causes the child harm that

would make the child an abused or neglected child" are separated

                                 11                              A-1730-16T3
by a comma and the word "or" indicating they are disjunctive and

refer to two distinct harms.          Paragraph (1) of 

describes one harm -- the impairment and debauchment of a child's

morals, and paragraph (2) describes the other harm -- abuse and

neglect of a child.         Therefore, because J.W. was convicted under

the pre-amended 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) of endangering the welfare of

a child by abuse or neglect and 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) specifies that

convictions under 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) are barred from expungement,

the court erred in granting J.W.'s petition.

       Even if we found that 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) is ambiguous,

because it does not specify which paragraph of 

applies to the bar against expungement, the legislative history

and general statutory scheme of 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) favor a finding

that    the     statute    bars   the    expungement        of    convictions      for

endangering the welfare of a child by abuse or neglect.                     

2C:52-2(b) provides that any convictions under 

are    barred    from   expungement     because       the   Legislature     used    no

limiting language when it cited to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a).                      "[W]hen

the Legislature includes limiting language in one part of a

statute, but leaves it out of another section in which the limit

could    have    been     included,     we    infer    that      the   omission    was

intentional."       Ryan v. Renny, 
203 N.J. 37, 58 (2010).                  

2C:52-2(b) specifies paragraphs of subsections of certain crimes

                                         12                                  A-1730-16T3
barred from expungement, but does not do so when citing to 

2C:24-4(a). For example, in listing crimes barred from expungement

under   subsection   b.   of   

specifies as follows:

           paragraph (4) of subsection b. of [N.J.S.A.]
           2C:24-4 (Photographing or filming a child in
           a prohibited sexual act); paragraph (3) of
           subsection b. of [
           or permitting a child to engage in a
           prohibited sexual act); subparagraph (a) of
           paragraph (5) of subsection b. of [N.J.S.A.]
           2C:24-4 (Distributing, possessing with intent
           to distribute or using a file-sharing program
           to   store   items   depicting    the   sexual
           exploitation    or  abuse    of    a   child);
           subparagraph   (b)   of   paragraph   (5)   of
           subsection    b.   of    [
           (Possessing or viewing items depicting the
           sexual exploitation or abuse of a child)[.]

     The Legislature made very specific and narrow references when

it chose to limit the scope of the bar to expungement for those

crimes.   The Legislature could have specified which paragraphs of

subsection a. of 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 applied to the bar, limiting its

application to convictions arising from sexual conduct or from

nonsexual conduct resulting in abuse or neglect.            However, the

Legislature chose not to do so, indicating it did not intend to

limit the prohibition against expungement of a conviction under


N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) to only one type of harm or conduct that

endangers the welfare of a child.



                                    13                             A-1730-16T3
    Given   the    express   references     in   

paragraphs of subsections of other crimes listed in the statute,

we cannot insert limiting language that the Legislature could have

included with respect to the bar on expunging convictions under


N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), but did not do so.           See Jersey Cent. Power &

Light Co. v. Melcar Util. Co., 
212 N.J. 576, 596 (2013) (noting

that "[i]n light of its express reference to the right to pursue

civil remedies elsewhere in . . . [N.J.S.A. 48:2-80], we cannot

insert   language   that   the   Legislature      could   have   included    in

subsection (d) -- but did not.").

     In addition, the Legislature's focus was not only on offenses

arising from sexual conduct, as 

expungement of convictions arising from nonsexual conduct, such

as kidnapping, 
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1, false swearing, 

2, and perjury, 
N.J.S.A. 2C:28-1, and nonsexual conduct against

minors, such as criminal restraint, 

imprisonment, 
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3.          Thus, in light of the absence of

limiting language and the inclusion of nonsexual offenses barred

from expungement, the statutory scheme of 

indicates the prohibition against expungement is not limited to a

specific type of conduct or harm underlying a conviction pursuant

to 



                                    14                                A-1730-16T3
    Furthermore, the parenthetical language in the pre-amended

or amended 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) does not limit the scope of the

prohibition against expungement.         In In re Expungement of W.S.,


367 N.J. Super. at 309, we found that 

expungement of any convictions under 
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 despite the

fact that the parenthetical following the citation to 

2C:14-2 only referred to "aggravated sexual assault," but not to

"sexual   assault"   generally,     because      the    parenthetical      was

descriptive only and incomplete.         Ibid.   We noted that "when the

Legislature intended to exclude a lesser degree of one of these

enumerated offenses from the prohibition against expungement, it

directly expressed that intent by specifically 'except[ing] death

by auto as specified in section 2C:11-5' from the prohibition

against expungement."      Id. at 312.        Likewise, here, when the

Legislature intended to include a subparagraph or subsection of

one of the enumerated offenses barred from expungement, it did so

by referencing specific subsections or paragraphs.

     Moreover, "the Legislature that enacted 

presumed to have been aware of the judicial construction of the

expungement   statute's   earlier    version[.]"        In   re   Expungement

Petition of J.S., 
223 N.J. 54, 75 (2015).              Given that in In re

Expungement of W.S. we interpreted the parentheticals in 

2C:52-2(b) as descriptive only and deferred to the citations when

                                    15                                A-1730-16T3
they   were   more   expansive,   we    conclude   the   Legislature     acted

deliberately when it later amended the reference to 

4(a) in 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) by adding the language "or causing the

child other harm," but not including a particular paragraph when

citing to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) to limit the scope of the prohibition

against expungement.      The 2016 amendment to 

made the parenthetical complete and accurate to reflect the conduct

barred from expungement described in 

not alter the citation, which previously included convictions

arising from endangering the welfare of a child by sexual and

nonsexual conduct.

       Lastly, the Senate Judiciary Committee's statement commented

that the amendments to 
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) "update, using the

accepted current citation format, the statutory citations for the

list    of    criminal   convictions        that   are   not   subject        to

expungement[,]" but that "such updating does not add any additional

crimes to this list."      Prior the 2016 amendment, 

2(b) specified that convictions under "N.J.S.2C:42-4 a." could not

be expunged.      The 2016 amendment altered the citation to the

statute to read "subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4," making it

conform to the current citation format.             The amendment did not

expand or limit which part of subsection a. of 

applied to the bar against expungement, keeping in line with the

                                       16                              A-1730-16T3
Legislature's expressed intent not to add any additional crimes

to the list of crimes barred.

     Both prior to and after 2016, 

the offense of endangering the welfare of a child as engaging in

sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the

child or nonsexual conduct that causes the child harm that would

make the child an abused or neglected child.          Therefore, reading

the addition of the parenthetical language in 2016 amendment, "or

causing the child other harm[,]" as referring to conduct causing

the abuse or neglect of a child complies with the Legislature's

intent not to add additional crimes to the list of crimes barred

from expungement, as it still describes conduct included within

the scope of 
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a) -- endangering the welfare of a

child.   Thus, the 2016 amendment did not limit or expand the scope

of the bar against expungement of convictions under 

4(a),    but   only   updated   the    citation   format   and   made   the

accompanying parenthetical more complete.         Accordingly, we reverse

the grant of J.W.'s petition for expungement.


     Reversed.