May 4, 2009
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
GREGORY BARTHOLOMEW, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 98-05-0658.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted April 21, 2009
Before Judges Skillman and Graves.
Defendant was found guilty by a jury of three counts of armed robbery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a(2), and three counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d. After mergers of the weapons offense convictions into the armed robbery convictions, defendant, who had been convicted of two prior armed robberies, was sentenced under the "Three Strikes" law, N.J.S.A. 2C:43- 7.1a, to concurrent terms of life imprisonment without parole for the armed robberies.
On appeal, we affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence in an unreported opinion, State v. Bartholomew, No. A-951-01 (March 5, 2003), and the Supreme Court denied his petition for certification, 177 N.J. 572 (2003).
Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. On November 13, 2007, the trial court delivered a comprehensive oral opinion denying defendant's petition. On appeal from the denial of his petition, defendant presents the following arguments:
POINT I: POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COUNSEL FAILED TO ADVANCE AND THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COURT FAILED TO ADDRESS ALL THE ISSUES RAISED IN DEFENDANT'S PETITION DEPRIVING DEFENDANT OF A FULL AND FAIR HEARING.
POINT II: DEFENDANT WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL AND PCR COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF U.S. CONST. AMENDS. VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. ART. I, ¶ 10. (Partially Raised Below).
POINT III: THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DENIED DEFENDANT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING.
We reject defendant's arguments regarding the alleged ineffectiveness of his trial counsel substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Citta's oral opinion. Defendant's arguments regarding the alleged ineffectiveness of his counsel on the petition are clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). That counsel's representation of defendant fully conformed with the requirements of State v. Rue, 175 N.J. 1, 13-19 (2002) and State v. Webster, 187 N.J. 254, 257-58 (2006). There is no basis in the record for concluding that any of the additional investigation defendant argues his trial and PCR counsel should have undertaken would have resulted in a different outcome. There is also no basis for concluding that defendant could have mounted a diminished capacity defense.
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