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State v. Hamilton

July 9, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
HOWARD HAMILTON, A/K/A ANTOINE HAMILTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment No. 02-03-0609.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 13, 2008

Before Judges Cuff and Simonelli.

Defendant Howard Hamilton appeals from the order of September 12, 2006, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing.

On appeal, defendant raises the following contentions:

POINT I THE PCR COURT REVERSIBLY ERRED IN FAILING TO GRANT HAMILTON'S POST-CONVICTION RELIEF BASED UPON THE CLAIMS THAT HIS TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE (1) IN FAILING TO BRING A MOTION TO SUPPRESS AS EVIDENCE THE DRUGS ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM HIS PERSON; (2) IN FAILING TO DISCOVER AND SUBPOENA FOR TRIAL THE VIDEO TAPE OF HAMILTON'S BOOKING AT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT;

(3) IN FAILING TO INVESTIGATE ANY STATEMENTS AS TO THE RESULTS OF ANY SEARCH BY THE POLICE OFFICER WHO ACTUALLY SEARCHED HIM; AND (4) IN PROVIDING HAMILTON WITH FALSE INFORMATION TO COERCE HIM TO EXECUTE THE PLEA AGREEMENT.

POINT II THE PCR COURT REVERSIBLY ERRED IN REJECTING HAMILTON'S PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF BECAUSE THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF HAMILTON'S GROUNDS FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF WARRANTED SUCH RELIEF.

POINT III HAMILTON WAS RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF PCR COUNSEL WHO FAILED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE HAMILTON'S CONTENTION THAT TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO FILE AND ARGUE A MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE DRUGS ASSERTEDLY SEIZED FROM HIM BY THE POLICE.

POINT IV AT A MINIMUM, THE PCR COURT REVERSIBLY ERRED IN REJECTING HAMILTON'S REQUEST FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON THE ABOVE ISSUES BECAUSE HAMILTON DEMONSTRATED A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF HIS TRIAL COUNSEL AND HIS PCR COUNSEL ON THOSE GROUNDS AS DISCRETE ITEMS AND IN THEIR CUMULATIVE EFFECT.

POINT V THE PCR COURT REVERSIBLY ERRED IN REJECTING HAMILTON'S REQUEST TO ATTEND THE PCR HEARING.

We reject these contentions and affirm.

Defendant was charged with third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) (heroin), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1) (count one); possession of CDS (heroin) with intent to distribute, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 2C:35-5b(3) (count two); and third degree distribution of CDS (heroin), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and 2C:35-5b(3) (count three). While awaiting trial on these ...


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