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State v. Bridges

March 12, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RAYSHAUN BRIDGES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 02-10-1293.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 12, 2009

Before Judges Reisner and Sapp-Peterson.

Defendant appeals from the order of the Law Division denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

Defendant's conviction and sentence arose out of defendant's carjacking of his victim at gunpoint. In October 2002, defendant was indicted for first-degree carjacking, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2 (Count One); second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1) (Count Two); second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purposes, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a) (Count Three); third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 23C:39-5(b), (Count Four); and third-degree theft by receiving a stolen automobile, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (Count Five).

On March 28, 2003, defendant, as part of a negotiated plea, pled guilty to the carjacking count in exchange for the State's agreement to dismiss the remaining charges and to recommend a custodial sentence not to exceed twenty years, together with imposition of an eighty-five percent parole disqualifier under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. Eight months later, defendant filed a motion seeking to withdraw the guilty plea. The court denied the motion on November 20, 2003, and on that same date sentenced defendant to twenty years imprisonment in accordance with the plea agreement. On direct appeal, we affirmed and, thereafter, the Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for certification. State v. Bridges, 183 N.J. 257 (2005).

On April 8, 2005, defendant filed an application for post-conviction relief. The PCR judge denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing and entered an order memorializing her decision on September 5, 2006.

On appeal defendant contends:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST[-]CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AFFORDING HIM AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO DETERMINE THE MERITS OF HIS CONTENTION THAT HE WAS DENIED THE RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.

POINT II

THE SENTENCE IMPOSED BY THE COURT WAS EXCESSIVE.

A defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is considered under the standards enunciated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed. 2d 674 (1984), which have been adopted by our Supreme Court in interpreting a defendant's right to counsel under our State Constitution. State v. Fritz, 105 N.J. 42, 58 (1987). In order to obtain relief based upon a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a "'defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient'" and "'that counsel's ...


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