Decided March 6 1989 Submitted : April 21, 1989.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County.
Michels, Muir, Jr., and Keefe. The opinion of the court was delivered by Michels, P.J.A.D.
[232 NJSuper Page 415] Tried to a jury, defendant John Marvin Williams was convicted of armed robbery, a crime of the first degree, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. Following a hearing, the trial court determined that defendant had committed the robbery while in possession of a firearm within the meaning of the Graves Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6c and d, and committed defendant to the custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections for
15 years with a five-year period of parole ineligibility. In addition, the trial court assessed a penalty of $100 payable to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Defendant appeals.
Defendant seeks a reversal of his conviction and a remand for a new trial or, alternatively, a vacation of the sentence and a remand for resentencing on the following grounds set forth in his letter brief:
I. THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT REFUSED TO REQUIRE THE PUBLIC DEFENDER TO DEFEND WILLIAMS.
II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN PERMITTING THE JURY TO CONTINUE DELIBERATION AFTER BEING NOTIFIED OF A DEADLOCK.
III. THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION TO IMPOSE THE PENALTIES OF THE GRAVES ACT WAS IN ERROR.
IV. THE SENTENCING COURT ILLEGALLY SENTENCED WILLIAMS BY FAILING TO FOLLOW PROPER STATUTORY SENTENCING GUIDELINES.
We have carefully considered the contentions challenging defendant's conviction set forth in Points I and II, supra, and all the arguments advanced by him in support of them and find that they are clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). Further comment, however, is appropriate with respect to some of those contentions before turning to defendant's challenge to the sentence.
Defendant contends in Point I, supra, that the trial court erred in failing to order that the Assistant Public Defender assigned to represent him actively participate in the trial, after defendant informed the trial court that he was not satisfied with his representation and did not wish to represent himself. That error, according to defendant, denied him his constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel. We disagree.
Defendant was represented by competent counsel at every critical step in the proceeding. After defendant informed the trial court prior to the commencement of the trial that he was not satisfied with ...