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State v. Mzee

January 20, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MORIBA MZEE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 89-05-2226.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 17, 2008

Before Judges Carchman and Simonelli.

Defendant Moriba Mzee, also known as Rayshourn Branch, appeals from a November 7, 2007 order of the Law Division denying defendant's second Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR). We affirm.

Defendant, a juvenile at the time of the incident giving rise to his conviction, was waived to the Law Division to be tried as an adult. On January 22, 1990, following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 3(a)(1)(2); third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b); second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a); and second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1). On April 5, 1990, after appropriate mergers, defendant was sentenced to an aggregate term on all charges of forty-years with a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility. Defendant appealed, and we affirmed. The Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Branch, 130 N.J. 20 (1992).

Approximately a year later, defendant filed his first PCR, and in August 1994, his PCR was denied. We again affirmed, and the Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Branch, 151 N.J. 470 (1997). Following the denial of relief in the State Courts, defendant unsuccessfully pursued Habeas Corpus relief in the federal court. In June 2006, sixteen years after his conviction, defendant filed his second PCR. Judge Volkert, sitting in the Law Division, denied relief. This appeal followed.

On this appeal, defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I

THE LAW DIVISION ERRED WHEN IT RULED POINT TWO, CONTAINED WITHIN DEFENDANT'S SUCESSIVE [sic] PCR PETITION, WAS ALREADY RAISED ON DIRECT APPEAL.

POINT TWO

THE LAW DIVISION ERRED WHEN IT DID NOT FIND GOOD CAUSE TO APPOINT COUNSEL DURING DEFENDANT'S SECOND PCR PETITION.

POINT THREE

DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF A FAIR TRIAL BY A JUROR REMAINING ON THE PANEL WHO HAD A CLOSED MIND DURING DELIBERATIONS AND BY THE ...


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