July 24, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
THERESA CLARK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, 01-12-3710-I.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted March 10, 2008
Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez and Collester.
Defendant Theresa Clark appeals from her probationary sentence of three years for the third-degree offense of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cocaine), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), based on her contention that she was erroneously terminated from pre-trial intervention (PTI). We affirm.
On August 5, 2002, defendant was accepted into the Camden County PTI program. On February 28, 2005, a notice of motion to terminate her from PTI was sent by regular and certified mail to her last known address with a return date of April 1, 2005. Defendant did not appear on that date. The PTI officer reported to the judge in open court that the certified mail green card had been signed and returned, and furthermore, that the letter sent by regular mail was not returned. The officer also stated that he personally told defendant to appear. Accordingly, the judge terminated defendant from the PTI program.
On May 31, 2005, defendant entered a negotiated guilty plea to possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and the prosecutor recommended a three-year term of probation. On July 15, 2005, the sentencing judge followed the recommendation and sentenced defendant to a probationary term of three years to be supervised by the County Mental Health Unit with a special condition that defendant continue psychological treatment.
Over a year later on September 29, 2006, defendant filed a notice of appeal. Her appeal was dismissed on March 13, 2007 after she requested that it be withdrawn. However, on July 23, 2007, we granted defendant's motion to vacate the dismissal and reinstated the appeal.
Defendant makes the following argument:
SINCE THE DEFENDANT WAS TERMINATED FROM THE PTI PROGRAM WITHOUT A MEANINGFUL HEARING AND IN THE ABSENCE OF COUNSEL, THIS COURT SHOULD VACATE THE TERMINATION OF PTI AND REMAND THE MATTER FOR A FULL COUNSELED PTI TERMINATION HEARING. (Not Raised Below.)
While defendant asserts that she did not know of the hearing because she had not opened her mail due to a change in medication for her bi-polar mental condition, at no time does she dispute that she failed to appear as directed by her PTI supervising officer. After review of the record we have determined that her appellate argument is without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. Rule 2:11-3(e)(2).
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