October 9, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
KARRIAM HAWKINS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 95-11-3464.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 29, 2008
Before Judges Skillman and Collester.
In 1995, defendant was indicted for endangering the welfare of a child, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), and other offenses. Defendant entered into a plea bargain under which he agreed to plead guilty to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child, and the State agreed to dismiss the other charges and recommend a probationary sentence. On March 26, 1996, the trial court sentenced defendant to a two-year probationary term, conditioned upon his incarceration in the Essex County jail for 180 days.
For the next ten years, defendant did not challenge his conviction. However, defendant became aware in 2007 that the Megan's Law community supervision for life component of his sentence, see N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4, was a barrier to a drug court sentence for a burglary charge that was then pending against him. Consequently, he made a motion to withdraw his guilty plea or, in the alternative, for a change in sentence "to a Non- Megan's Law Offense." In addition, the trial court concluded that, although not entitled as such, defendant's motion could be characterized as a first petition for post-conviction relief.
After lengthy oral argument by counsel on the return date, Judge Codey denied the motion for the reasons set forth in a comprehensive letter opinion dated September 4, 2007.
On appeal from the denial of his motion, defendant presents the following arguments:
POINT I: THE DOCTRINE OF FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS REQUIRES THAT DEFENDANT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RETRACT HIS GUILTY PLEA TO ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD. THE FACTUAL BASIS WAS INADEQUATE AND DEFENDANT WAS NOT ADVISED BY THE COURT THAT THE PLEA WOULD RESULT IN COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR LIFE.
A. DEFENDANT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA, SINCE HE WAS NOT ADEQUATELY ADVISED THAT HE WAS SUBJECT TO COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR LIFE.
B. DEFENDANT'S GUILTY PLEA WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY AN ADEQUATE FACTUAL BASIS.
We reject these arguments and affirm the denial of defendant's motion substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Codey's opinion. Defendant's arguments do not warrant any additional discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
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