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State v. Britt

July 7, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BETTY BRITT A/K/A BETTY BROWN, BETTY BILAL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Indictment No. 98-01-0160.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 30, 2008

Before Judges Cuff and Simonelli.

Defendant Betty Britt appeals from the order of May 22, 2006, denying her petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT I THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL DUE TO [COUNSEL'S] MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION OF DEFENDANT AND HER CO-DEFENDANTS.

A. [COUNSEL'S] MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION WAS IMPROPER SINCE IT GAVE RISE TO A POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND A SIGNIFICANT LIKELIHOOD OF PREJUDICE.

B. [COUNSEL'S] MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION WAS IMPROPER SINCE IT CAUSED ACTUAL PREJUDICE BY PREVENTING [COUNSEL] FROM INVESTIGATING A VIABLE DEFENSE.

POINT II THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL DUE TO [COUNSEL'S] FAILURE TO RAISE A VIABLE DEFENSE.

POINT III THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL DUE TO [COUNSEL'S] FAILURE TO FILE A MOTION TO SET ASIDE THE PLEA.

POINT IV THE LOWER COURT ORDER DENYING THE PETITION MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF APPELLATE COUNSEL.

POINT V THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE THE COURT FAILED TO ADVISE DEFENDANT OF [COUNSEL'S] MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION AND FAILED TO OBTAIN A WAIVER OF THAT REPRESENTATION DURING THE PLEA OR RESENTENCING.

POINT VI THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GRANTING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING AND THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST THEREFORE BE REVERSED.

We reverse and remand for an evidentiary hearing. On December 12, 1997, defendant, her husband Kevin Bilal (Bilal), and Darron Thomas (Thomas) robbed a restaurant in Hackensack. Bilal, armed with an ice pick and handgun, and defendant entered the restaurant. Bilal threatened the owner with the ice pick and gun. Thomas, who had previously worked at the ...


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