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State v. Deluca

November 08, 1999

STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
V.
GINO A. DELUCA,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Before Judges Petrella, Braithwaite and Coburn.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Braithwaite, J.A.D.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 27, 1999 -

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Somerset County.

On August 21, 1996, defendant and co-defendant, Paul Pallazzo ("Pallazo"), were indicted by the Somerset County grand jury for conspiracy to commit armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:15- 1; armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a); and unlawful possession of a firearm, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b). Thereafter, on June 25, 1997, defendant was indicted in an unrelated matter for second degree robbery and terroristic threats by the Somerset County grand jury.

Defendant's trial on the August 21, 1996 indictment was severed from that of Pallazo. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of all counts. At sentencing on the tried convictions, the trial Judge merged the conspiracy and both firearm convictions with the armed robbery conviction and sentenced defendant to a custodial term of eighteen years with an eight year period of parole ineligibility. Defendant subsequently entered a guilty plea to the June 25, 1997 indictment pursuant to a plea bargain. The State recommended a sentence of seven years with a one and one-half year period of parole ineligibility, consecutive to the sentence defendant was to receive on the convictions resulting from his trial. The Judge followed the recommended sentence in the plea bargain after merging the terroristic threats conviction with the robbery conviction. Defendant's aggregate sentence was twenty-five years with a nine and one-half year parole disqualifier.

Defendant now appeals and contends:

POINT I

The sentence imposed by the court is excessive.

POINT II

The trial court committed plain error by allowing admission of expert testimony on the issue of footprint identification.

POINT III

The trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal on the conspiracy count.

POINT IV

The lower court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress information retrieved from defendant's pager.

POINT V

Defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel due to counsel's failure to object to a hearsay statement of the co-defendant.

POINT VI

Defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel due to counsel's failure to prepare for expert evidence in the trial.

A. Failure to Prepare for Maureen Low- Beer's Testimony.

B. Failure to Prepare for Ms. Swec's Testimony.

C. Defendant was Denied the Effective ...


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