June 4, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
MAURICE ESPINO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 84-09-2639-I.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted May 5, 2008
Before Judges Collester and C.S. Fisher.
Defendant Maurice Espino appeals from an order of Judge Joseph V. Isabella denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Defendant was convicted on January 22, 1985 of felony murder, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(3), and first-degree armed robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. The sentencing judge merged the offenses and imposed a sentence of life imprisonment with a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility. On direct appeal we affirmed defendant's convictions but remanded the matter for re-sentencing due to the trial judge's failure to weigh the aggravating and mitigating factors. On October 30, 1987, after weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, the court imposed the same sentence.
The defendant then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus which was denied by the United States District Court with no probable cause for appeal. Defendant then filed his first petition for post-conviction relief on July 27, 1990. The petition was denied by the trial judge. We affirmed, and the Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Espino, 140 N.J. 278 (1995). On January 27, 2000, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied defendant's application to authorize a second petition of habeas corpus. This was followed by defendant's second petition for post-conviction relief filed on June 7, 2000, which was denied on August 3, 2001 as "wholly frivolous." Defendant filed a third petition on July 18, 2003, which was dismissed on June 25, 2004. Once again we affirmed.
Defendant then filed the present motion to correct what he contends was an illegal sentence. After the motion was denied by the Law Division judge, defendant appeals and presents the following arguments for our consideration:
POINT I -- THE LAW DIVISION'S DENIAL WAS CONTRARY TO THE LAW THAT DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO SERVE A GREATER SENTENCE [THAN] PERSONS OF EQUAL CULPABILITY CONVICTED.
POINT II -- THE LAW DIVISION ERRED IN ITS ORDER DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR SENTENCING REVIEW VIA, N.J.S.A. 2C:1-1(D)(2).
POINT III -- THE LAW DIVISION ERRED BY NOT CONVERTING THE TERM UNDER THE NO EARLY RELEASE ACT ("N.E.R.A.").
After careful review, we find that the arguments made by defendant are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
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