Appellate panel backs decision to try Atlantic City teen as adult

The decision to try an Atlantic City teen as an adult was backed by evidence, an appellate panel has ruled.
Jamaal Campbell was just 17 when he was arrested June 22, 2013, with a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in his waistband, according to the charges.
The gun was loaded with seven rounds, including one in the chamber ready to be fired, according to testimony at a four-day hearing where the judge decided to waive him up to be tried as an adult.
He eventually pled guilty in exchange for a five-year sentence, but also filed an appeal saying there was not enough evidence to waive him up to adult court. He was released from prison in November.
Last week, an appellate panel found the decision was based in fact, including allegations that Campbell was a member of Dirty Blok, a violent street gang that ruled Atlantic City’s Stanley Holmes Village and surrounding neighborhoods.
In the month before his arrest, there were 14 gang-related shootings attributed to Dirty Blok and their rivals, 800 Blok.
Campbell was arrested after senior Dirty Blok member Austin Clark went on a five-hour shooting spree that left two men injured.
As Atlantic City police raced from call to call that night, they got a report of an armed robbery on J.J. Waters Street, in which the victims said their cell phones were taken and a shot fired.
Clark and another senior gang member, Abdul Bailey.
When police tracked down Bailey, Campbell was with him and they found the gun.
As they waited to be taken to the station, Bailey allegedly told Campbell, “Keep your mouth shut. Don’t say a (expletive) thing.” Campbell allegedly nodded yes in response.
The appellate judges affirmed Family Court Judge Joseph Marczyk’s decision, calling it “cogent and well-reasoned.”

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