On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Warren County, Indictment No. 03-11-0388-I.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 20, 2006
Remanded by the Supreme Court on June 15, 2007
Resubmitted July 18, 2007
Before Judges Stern and Sabatino.
In our opinion filed on January 25, 2007, we affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for a violation of fourth degree failure to verify an address as required by Megan's Law, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(a) and (e).*fn1
Following the filing of our opinion, defendant petitioned for certification. The Supreme Court granted the petition and summarily remanded the matter to us. The Supreme Court's order reads:
A petition for certification of the judgment in A-6343-03 having been submitted to this Court, and the Court having considered the same;
It is ORDERED that the petition for certification is granted, limited solely to the effect of defendant's conditional guilty plea, and in respect of that issue the matter is summarily remanded to the Appellate Division for its reconsideration on the merits after having clarified the nature of the charge to which defendant pled guilty on March 23, 2004.
The negotiated plea form is not presented in either party's appendix, but there is no question that when defendant entered his guilty plea on March 23, 2004, the plea was entered with the understanding, in the judge's words, that defendant was "going to appeal a motion which I denied this morning and should that appeal be successful . . . may withdraw this guilty plea." The motion was for a hearing as to whether defendant should be relieved of his obligation to register under Megan's Law. See In re Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304 (2001). Defendant then entered a plea for "fail[ing] to verify" his address with the Chief of Police of the municipality in which he resided "as of February 14th, 2003." (Emphasis added). He acknowledged that he "fail[ed] to register as of February 14th, 2003," notwithstanding he was aware that he "had an obligation to register." (Emphasis added). We will assume, for present purposes, as the defendant claimed in his petition for certification, that he pled guilty to failing to verify his address.
The issue before us now is the nature of the exception to the plea waiver rule in terms of the issue preserved for appeal. See R. 3:9-3(f). See also, e.g., State v. Knight, 183 N.J. 449, 471 (2005). It is clear to us, as it was to the defendant at the time he filed his brief before us, that the issue related to whether defendant was required to register under Megan's Law so as to be ...