On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment Nos. 04-12-1451, 05-03-0424; Accusation No. 05-01-1302.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Parker and Gilroy.
Defendant Vaughn Taylor appeals from three judgments of conviction, all entered on November 4, 2005. We affirm.
The judgment of conviction in Indictment 04-12-01451 was entered after a jury found defendant guilty of first degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (Count One); third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d (Count Two); fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d (Count Three); and fourth degree unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10, amended from unlawful possession of a motor vehicle (Count Five). Counts Two and Three were merged into Count One and defendant was sentenced on Count One to an extended term of twenty-three years subject to 85% parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. He was sentenced on Count Five to a concurrent term of one year, for an aggregate term of twenty-three years.
On Indictment 05-03-0424, defendant pled guilty to second degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (Count One); and second degree aggravated assault with bodily injury, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) (Count Three). On each of the two counts, defendant was sentenced to consecutive terms of six years subject to 85% parole ineligibility pursuant to NERA. The twelve-year term was imposed consecutively to the term of I-04-12-1451 for an aggregate term of thirty-five years on the two indictments.
In Accusation 05-01-01302, defendant pled guilty to third degree criminal intent to escape from detention, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-5(a). On this offense, defendant was sentenced to a term of five years subject to 85% parole ineligibility pursuant to NERA, to run concurrently with the two indictments.
These charges arose out of a series of offenses committed by defendant in August 2004. On August 18, 2004, Marguitha Green reported that her dark green two-door Lexus was stolen from Meeker Street in Newark.
On August 25, 2004, two eyewitnesses observed a black male with a shaved head or short hair, wearing a dark shirt and dark pants, get out of a dark green two-door Lexus and approach a woman later identified as Jacqueline Davis. The assailant struck her over the head, knocking her to the ground, took her purse and ran back to the car. One of the witnesses, Marion Sawicki, identified the object with which defendant hit Davis as a tire iron. The other witness, Christopher Caivano, testified that he saw defendant get out of a green 1991 Lexus. On the same date, Hillside Police Detective Jamie Howell was patrolling in an unmarked police car. He had information about the stolen Lexus and attempted to stop a dark green two-door Lexus, which sped off as the officer approached it. Howell pursued the vehicle until it eventually crashed into the front porch of a residence. When Howell approached the vehicle, he found two individuals inside, defendant and Stephanie Woodfork.
After the Lexus crashed, Marion Sawicki and Christopher Caivano were brought to the scene and identified defendant as the assailant of Jacqueline Davis. Sawicki and Caivano later identified photos of defendant and the stolen Lexus at police headquarters.
In this appeal, defendant argues:
DEFENDANT WAS DENIED THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF ...