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State v. Crone

April 23, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ADONTI T. CRONE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment Nos. 04-01-0438, 04-01-0086, 03-11-4150 and 03-10-3639.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 8, 2008

Before Judges Skillman and Yannotti.

Defendant Adonti T. Crone was charged with various offenses under four indictments issued by grand jurors in Camden County. On March 22, 2004, defendant entered a plea to four counts in the indictments but later moved to withdraw the plea. The motion was denied and defendant was sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement to an aggregate ten-year term of incarceration, with a two-year period of parole ineligibility. Defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction entered on October 22, 2004. We affirm.

Defendant was charged under Indictment No. 03-10-3639 with receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (count one); unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d (count two); possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count three); and possession of CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(3) (count four).

Defendant additionally was charged under Indictment No. 03-11-4150 with possession of CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count one); possession of CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(3) (count two); distribution of CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(3) (count three); possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of public housing, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (count four); and criminal contempt, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 (count five).

Defendant also was charged under Indictment No. 04-01-0086 with possession of CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count one); possession of CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35- 5a(1) and 5b(3) (count two); possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of public housing, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (count three); conspiracy to possess CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(3) (count four); and criminal contempt, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 (count five).

In addition, defendant was charged under Indictment No. 04-01-0438 with possession of CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count one); possession of CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(2) (count two); possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of public housing, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (count three); resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a (count four); and conspiracy to possess CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 5b(3) (count five).

On March 22, 2004, defendant pled guilty to receiving stolen property (count one, Indictment No. 03-10-3639); possession of CDS with intent to distribute (count three, Indictment No. 03-11-4150); conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute (count four, Indictment No. 04-01-0086); and possession of CDS with intent to distribute (count two, Indictment No. 04-01-0438). The State agreed to recommend an aggregate ten-year term of imprisonment with a two-year period of parole ineligibility.

At the plea hearing, defendant said that he had discussed the case with his attorney. The judge explained the terms of the plea and defendant stated that he understood them. Defendant also stated that he understood that by pleading guilty to the charges, he was admitting that the charges were true. In addition, defendant asserted that he was satisfied with the advice of his attorney, he was pleading guilty voluntarily and of his own free will, and no one had threatened him or forced him to plead guilty. The judge asked whether defendant was "under the influence of medication or anything else . . . that would interfere with [his] judgment?" Defendant replied, "[n]o."

Defendant then provided the court with a factual basis for his pleas to the four charges. The judge asked whether defendant had any questions for the court, the prosecutor, or his attorney. He said that he did not. Defendant also stated that he understood that if his pleas were accepted by the court, he would have a criminal record for the offenses. Defendant plead guilty to the charges and stated that he understood "everything."

The court asked defense counsel about a sentencing date. Counsel asserted that defendant had been shot in the stomach following his last court appearance. Counsel stated that defendant's wound was "still open with a bandage." He asked that sentencing be put off for two months to see "if [defendant] gets stitched back up." The judge scheduled the sentencing date for June 4, 2004. Defendant did not appear on that date. He was thereafter arrested on a fugitive warrant.

Sentencing took place October 22, 2004. At that proceeding, defendant moved to withdraw his plea. The judge stated on the record that there was "no basis at all to permit" defendant to withdraw his plea. The judge observed that the: plea was entered before me back a number of months ago and there was an extensive questioning of [defendant] regarding the voluntariness of his plea, his understanding of the terms and the conditions, and I was satisfied then and I'm satisfied now that [the] plea was made freely and voluntarily without any threat, force, coercion, or any other improper influence.

Defendant conceded that he entered his plea freely and voluntarily but said that at the time, he had just been released from the hospital from his gun shot wound and he "was under a lot of medication." Defendant asserted that his attorney did not explain to him that he would receive a ten-year sentence. Defendant said that ...


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