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State v. Gentry

April 16, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
SHAWN GENTRY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment No. 00-08-1611.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 16, 2008

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Messano.

During a four-month period in 2000, the Atlantic County grand jury returned three indictments against defendant Shawn Gentry. In Indictment #06-1138, defendant was charged with third-degree absconding from parole, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-5(b). In Indictment #08-1611, he was charged with the second-degree robbery of Joan Scozzafava, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1). And, lastly, in Indictment #09-1959, defendant was charged with the second-degree robbery of Michael Martelli, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1).

Tried before a jury on Indictment #08-1611, defendant was convicted of second-degree robbery. We recount the evidence at trial by reference to our prior opinion in which we affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence on direct appeal.

On the evening of May 23, 2000, defendant was in Bally's Park Place Casino in Atlantic City. A surveillance officer noticed defendant seemed nervous. He suspiciously, and repeatedly, removed his jacket, draped it over his arm and then put it back on. Scozzafava was also in the casino, playing a slot machine. Defendant sat down at an adjacent machine to the left of Scozzafava. she had just won $250 that was paid in cash and which she placed in her left pants pocket. Defendant reached over to Scozzafava with his arm and hand covered by his jacket. He reached into her left pants pocket. She told him to remove his hand and she pulled away from defendant, ripping her pants in the process. As she pulled away, defendant's hand, holding $250, came out of her pants . . . . In the ensuing scuffle, defendant dropped the $250 and broke Scozzafava's finger. Defendant attempted to retrieve the money from the floor, but was fended off by Scozzafava's brother-in-law. These events were videotaped by casino security and the tape was played for the jury. [State v. Shawn Gentry, A-4109-00 slip op. 2-3 (June 20, 2002)].

Before sentencing, defendant entered guilty pleas to an amended charge of fourth-degree hindering apprehension, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3, on Indictment #06-1138, and second-degree robbery on Indictment #09-1959. Pursuant to the negotiated plea bargain, defendant was to receive a maximum sentence of eighteen months on the hindering charge, no particular sentence on the robbery charge, although the State agreed that no period of parole disqualification would attach, and both sentences would be served concurrently to the sentence on the earlier robbery conviction.

The trial judge sentenced defendant to an extended term of imprisonment of fifteen years, seven of which were to be served without parole, on the robbery verdict, and concurrent sentences in accordance with the plea bargain on the other two guilty pleas.

After his conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR).*fn1 In an oral opinion, the PCR judge denied defendant's request for an evidentiary hearing on the petition, and also denied the petition, entering an order to that effect on December 9, 2005. This appeal ensued.

Defendant raises the following points for our consideration:

POINT ONE

[DEFENDANT] SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON THE ISSUE OF THE INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL DUE TO ...


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