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State v. Freeman

August 2, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DERRICK FREEMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 90-02-0668.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 31, 2007

Before Judges Stern and Sabatino.

Defendant Derrick Freeman, who was convicted of felony murder and other crimes in 1990, appeals the Law Division's order of April 13, 2005 denying his petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"). We affirm.

The underlying facts, which are detailed in our July 9, 2003 per curiam opinion affirming defendant's convictions on direct appeal (A-1553-90T4), involved the fatal shooting of Keith Anderson in front of his Newark residence, and the robbery of Wayne White, in the early morning hours of September 8, 1999. A car pulled up, and Anderson was shot while attempting to run away. Defendant was identified as having gotten out of the front seat of the car, and having attempted to rob White while placing a gun in his mouth.

After a ten-day jury trial, defendant was convicted of felony murder, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(3); armed robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; and certain firearms offenses. After appropriate mergers, the trial judge sentenced defendant to an aggregate prison term of thirty years, all to be served without parole. We rejected defendant's challenges on direct appeal to his conviction, particularly as to alleged errors in the jury instructions, the admission of an out-of-court identification, and the denial of a mistrial when the State was permitted to reopen its case before summations.

Subsequently, defendant filed a PCR petition, initially on a pro se basis, and then aided by counsel. After defendant's initial PCR attorney was relieved, successor counsel was appointed and the court also permitted defendant to supplement her arguments with a pro se submission. Upon considering the submissions and hearing oral argument, the Law Division judge found that defendant's PCR claims were untimely and without substantive merit. The judge also concluded that no evidentiary hearing was warranted on the issues raised by defendant.

In this ensuing appeal, counsel for defendant argues:

POINT I

THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION WAS PROCEDURALLY BARRED.

POINT II

THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DEFENDANT FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE WAS DENIED THE ...


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