March 18, 2009
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
DAWAD AMIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 98-05-0451.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted March 3, 2009
Before Judges Skillman and Grall.
Defendant was found guilty by a jury of aggravated assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1), unlawful possession of a weapon, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d), and various other offenses in connection with an assault upon a corrections officer in Trenton State Prison. The trial court imposed an extended fifteen-year term of imprisonment, with a seven-and- one-half period of parole ineligibility, for the aggravated assault and a concurrent five-year term, with a two-and-one-half year period of parole ineligibility, for unlawful possession of a weapon. This sentence was made consecutive to a life sentence, with twenty-five years of parole ineligibility, that defendant was then serving for murder. The court merged defendant's convictions for the other offenses.
On appeal, we affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence in an unreported opinion. State v. Amin, No. A-2882-00T4 (May 9, 2002), and the Supreme Court denied his petition for certification. 174 N.J. 366 (2002).
Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief. After briefing and oral argument by assigned counsel, the trial court denied defendant's petition for the reasons set forth in a written opinion.
On appeal to this court from the denial of his petition, defendant presents the following arguments:
POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AFFORDING HIM AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO FULLY ADDRESS HIS CONTENTION THAT HE WAS DENIED ADEQUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT THE TRIAL LEVEL IN CERTAIN DIFFERENT RESPECTS.
A. THE PREVAILING LEGAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING CLAIMS OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS AND PETITIONS FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF.
B. SINCE THE DEFENDANT PRESENTED A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL AS A RESULT OF COUNSEL'S FAILURE TO ADVISE HIM OF A FAVORABLE PLEA OFFER AS WELL AS HIS EXTENDED TERM ELIGIBILITY IN THE EVENT HE WAS CONVICTED AT TRIAL, HE WAS ENTITLED TO AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO FULLY ADDRESS THIS CONTENTION.
C. SINCE THE DEFENDANT PRESENTED A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL AS A RESULT OF COUNSEL'S FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF THE HIGHLY INFLAMMATORY AND PREJUDICIAL TESTIMONY ELICITED FROM OFFICER GUIDO REGARDING A STINGER REMOVED FROM THE DEFENDANT'S CELL PRIOR TO THE ALLEGED ASSAULT, HE WAS ENTITLED TO AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO FULLY ADDRESS THIS CONTENTION.
We reject these arguments and affirm the denial of defendant's petition substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Smithson's July 2, 2007 written opinion.
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