On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment Nos. 06-01-0130 and 06-01-0131.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: September 24, 2008
Before Judges Parrillo and Lihotz.
John A. Taylor appeals from an order denying his motion to withdraw a guilty plea entered in connection with a plea agreement, and to reduce his sentence. We affirm.
An Essex County Grand Jury returned Indictment No. 06-01-0130 charging defendant with four counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2c:14-2(a)(1); two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a); and four counts of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), in connection with the sexual assault of a seven-year old victim. Also, a grand jury returned Indictment No. 06-01-0131 charging defendant with second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b); and second-degree endangering the welfare of a second minor victim, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a).
Prior to trial, defendant assented to the terms of a plea agreement. In exchange for defendant's plea to one count of second-degree sexual assault (count three) and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (count eight), as set forth in Indictment No. 06-01-0130, the State would dismiss all remaining charges in that indictment and dismiss the second indictment. The recommended term of incarceration was two concurrent ten-year terms.
In a detailed colloquy with defendant, the trial judge sought a factual basis for entry of the plea, confirmed defendant's knowledge and understanding of the details and consequences of a guilty plea, was assured that defendant was fully aided by counsel, and entered his plea voluntarily. The court sentenced defendant to two concurrent ten-year terms of incarceration, subject to the 85% period of parole ineligibility, pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, and dismissed the remaining counts of Indictment No. 06-01-0130, and the entirety of Indictment No. 06-01-0131. Applicable fines and penalties were imposed, as well as a restraint against contact with the victims.
Prior to sentencing defendant, accompanied by different counsel, moved to vacate his plea or alternatively to modify the sentence recommended in the plea agreement. The court denied defendant's applications. The trial judge entered an amended Judgment of Conviction imposing a sex offender sentence, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:47-3(b), and recommended defendant serve his ten-year sentence at the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC).
On appeal defendant presents the following issues for our consideration.
POINT I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION, WHICH WAS MADE PRIOR TO SENTENCING, TO WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA.
POINT II THE DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE IS EXCESSIVE.
Defendant believes his plea should be vacated because "there was a lack of communication between himself and his attorney, when he was here to take his plea in fact his attorney had told him . . . that he had no chance at trial." Defendant maintains the State could ...