March 29, 2007
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
FLORENTINO FLORES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, No. 2144-06-00.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 7, 2007
Before Judges Wefing and Yannotti.
Defendant appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.
Defendant was originally charged with murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), (2); possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a; unlawful possession of a handgun, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; and hindering apprehension, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(1). He entered a negotiated plea of guilty to an amended charge of aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a, and the trial court sentenced defendant to a term of eighteen years in prison, eighty-five percent of which had to be served before defendant could be considered eligible for parole. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. Defendant appealed his sentence, and the matter was heard on an Excessive Sentence Oral Argument calendar and affirmed. State v. Flores, No. A-0648-02 (App. Div. June 5, 2003).
In December 2003 defendant filed his petition seeking post-conviction relief. Counsel was assigned to represent defendant, and the trial court (the same court that handled defendant's matter from its inception through his guilty plea) heard oral argument on defendant's petition on October 7, 2005. After that oral argument, the trial court placed its decision on the record denying defendant's petition. This appeal followed. On appeal, defendant raises the following issue:
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF AS HE WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL AS GUARANTEED BY THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS.
We have reviewed the transcript of the hearing on defendant's petition, and it is clear that defendant is dissatisfied with his sentence, being of the view that his act of shooting an unarmed victim following an argument should receive a lesser sentence. As we have noted earlier in this opinion, we have already rejected defendant's challenge to his sentence. The order under review is affirmed substantially for the reasons stated by Judge Natal in his oral opinion of October 7, 2005.
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