It's probably not the kind of assault case that New Jersey criminal defense lawyers come across every day. A New Jersey man this week pleaded guilty to charges of vomiting on spectators at the Philadelphia Phillies game in April.
Matthew Clemmens is a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. On 14 April, Clemmens was at a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. According to several news reports, Clemmens was intoxicated when he stuck two fingers into his mouth and vomited on a man and his 11-year-old daughter. To his luck, the man was an off-duty police officer. The officer had got into an argument with Clemmens and his friends, which had resulted in one of the friends being ejected from the park. That led to the vomit assault.
This week, Clemmens pleaded guilty to simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. Clemmens had charges of corruption of a minor and reckless endangerment dropped, in return for a guilty plea.
Clemmens will be sentenced on July 30, and is likely to face probation. He has no prior violations to his credit, and so far, it seems like this was his first time coming up against the law. This does seem more like a result of having had too much alcohol to drink, than any malicious criminal intent on his part. Not surprisingly, the public mood has been strongly against Clemmens.
Vomiting on another person might seem to the ordinary New Jersey citizen like incredibly brutish, reprehensible and appalling behavior, but hardly criminal. To a layperson, it may barely seem like assault, much less aggravated assault since there was no weapon used. However, New Jersey laws are extremely clear about what constitutes an assault, and Clemmens’ behavior would have fallen under the purview of “assault” and/or “harassment” in a New Jersey court too.