July 31, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
WELLINGTON L. GREY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT,
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Union County, Indictment No. 93-01-0002-A.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: May 19, 2008
Before Judges C.S. Fisher and Kestin.
Defendant, Wellington L. Grey, appeals from the trial court's order of July 5, 2007, denying his motion to vacate two guilty pleas. Judge Wertheimer expressed his reasons for the decision in a letter opinion of the same date.
In his brief on appeal, defendant raises the following issues:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ACCEPTING THE DEFENDANT'S GUILTY PLEAS WHEN THERE WAS AN INADEQUATE FACTUAL BASIS PRESENTED.
THE TRIAL COURT IMPROPERLY CONSIDERED EVIDENCE OUTSIDE THE RECORD IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE HIS GUILTY PLEAS AND SENTENCE.
On January 15, 1993, defendant entered guilty pleas to a two-count accusation charging him with second-degree possession of marijuana, in an amount over five pounds, with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1); and third-degree possession of the marijuana with intent to distribute in a school zone, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. The plea agreement between defendant and the State included a provision for a sentencing recommendation of seven years' imprisonment with fourteen months of parole ineligibility, the same sentence as had been imposed on the co-defendant.
On July 30, 1993, the trial court sentenced defendant in accordance with "the plea agreement . . . as amended in camera." For the second-degree crime, a six-year term of imprisonment was imposed; for the third-degree crime a concurrent four-year term was provided. Appropriate fees, assessments and penalties were also ordered, along with a six-month driver's license suspension.
Defendant represents in his brief that the sentences were served. More than thirteen years after imposition of the sentences, on April 26, 2007, defendant moved for an order setting aside his guilty pleas and convictions on the basis that no sufficient factual basis had been presented when the guilty pleas were entered. Defendant argued, therefore, that the trial court should not have accepted the guilty pleas and that the convictions based thereon were void.
We have reviewed the record in the light of the arguments advanced by the parties and are in substantial agreement with the reasons for decision Judge Wertheimer articulated in his letter opinion as to both guilty pleas. With respect to the second argument offered by defendant on appeal, we discern no merit sufficient to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
Accordingly, we affirm.
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