On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Essex County, Indictment No. 96-02-562.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: C.L. Miniman, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: December 10, 2008
Before Judges Cuff, C.L. Miniman and King.
Defendant Alshamoon Thompson appeals from the denial of his first petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) in connection with his 1997 convictions for first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, and possession of a silencer. Defendant's aggregate sentence is life in prison plus twenty-five years with a forty-year period of parole ineligibility. We affirmed his conviction and sentence on June 23, 1999. State v. Thompson, No. A-406-97 (App. Div. June 23, 1999), certif. denied, 162 N.J. 199 (1999).
Defendant filed his PCR petition on July 31, 2000, alleging ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel and various errors by the trial judge. Specifically, defendant raised the following issues in his verified petition:
POINT I -- THE DEFENDANT-PETITIONER WAS DENIED THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL [SIC] FAILURE TO REQUEST EXPERT TESTIMONY CONTRARY TO THE SIXTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ART. I, PARA. 10 OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION.
POINT II -- THE LOWER COURT ERRED; (a) DENYING REQUEST FOR MISTRIAL; (b) FAIL [SIC] TO VIRE [SIC] DIRE [SIC] THE JURY, CONCERNING THE STATE WITNESS TIM WRIGHT, KNOWLEDGE OF NORTHERN STATE PRISON, AND KNOWLEDGE OF DEFENDANT DENIED OF THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL BY AN IMPARTIAL JURY U.S. CONST. AMENDS. V, VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947) ART. I, PARS. 1, 9, 10.
POINT III -- THE DEFENDANT-PETITIONER WAS DENIED THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF APPELLATE COUNSEL CONTRARY TO THE SIXTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ART. I, PARA. 10 OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION.
POINT IV -- THE ACCUMULATION OF ERRORS DEMAND THAT THE DEFENDANT-PETITIONER BE RETRIED. U.S. CONST. AMENDS. V, VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947) ART. I, PARS. 1, 9, 10.
Although counsel was assigned to represent defendant, the attorney did not file a PCR brief on his behalf until June 2006 and never consulted with him. In that brief, she raised the following issues:
POINT I -- PETITIONER WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL THE ROOTS OF THE RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE COUNSEL AND THE APPLICABLE STANDARD OF REVIEW
a. The Standards Set Forth In Cronic And Strickland
b. Counsel's Responsibility To The Accused
c. Preparedness Of Counsel Is ...