On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 98-08-842.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 12, 2009
Before Judges R. B. Coleman and Simonelli.
Defendant Roicee Thomas appeals from a final order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) entered on November 2, 2006, in the Superior Court, Law Division. Having carefully reviewed defendant's arguments in light of the attendant facts and applicable law, we affirm the order denying his petition.
The relevant procedural history leading to this appeal can be briefly summarized. On August 28, 1998, a Mercer County grand jury returned Indictment No. 98-08-842 charging defendant in twenty counts with crimes relating to armed robberies that occurred on two separate dates. Counts one through five of the indictment related to a May 23, 1998, armed robbery at the Speedi Mart located at 1097 Parkway Avenue in Ewing Township, and counts six through twenty related to a May 25, 1998, armed robbery at the Deli Mart located at 206 Sanhican Drive in Trenton. On October 23, 2001, defendant entered a plea of guilty to two counts: count one, first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and count six, first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State agreed to recommend dismissal of the remaining eighteen counts of the indictment. In furtherance of the agreement, the State also was to recommend an aggregate term of twenty years, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. At the plea hearing, defendant acknowledged his understanding of the terms of the agreement as follows:
Q: Now, the plea arrangements in this case contemplate that you would receive a 20 year sentence with the No Early Release Act or the 85 percent law applicable on each of the counts of the indictment that you had pleaded guilty to. And those sentences would run concurrently with one another so that you would face a maximum total of 20 years with 85 percent or 17 years without parole. Do you understand that?
Q: And you understand that upon release, the law requires that you serve five years on parole upon your release. You understand that?
Q: You also understand that the State is reserving the right to apply to the Court for a sentence less than the agreed upon sentence in these plea arrangements under the following circumstances: You have agreed to testify or to fully and truthfully cooperate with the State in the investigation and prosecution of pending homicide cases which are under present investigation by the State of New Jersey, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, is that correct?
Q: And part of that cooperation would mean -- would entail your testimony at those cases -- in those cases should they go ...