On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 03-09-1238.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Gilroy and Chambers.
Defendant Gabor Salamon appeals from the denial of his post-conviction relief petition claiming ineffective assistance of counsel because he and his co-defendant were both represented by the Ocean County Public Defender's Office.
On December 15, 2003, defendant pled guilty to one count of first-degree carjacking, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. The plea agreement provided for the dismissal of the remaining counts against him, namely, second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; third-degree theft by unlawful taking of an automobile, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3; and third-degree receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. The State agreed to recommend a sentence of ten years imprisonment with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.
Thereafter, on January 26, 2004, defendant's co-defendant Eve Steinmetz also pled guilty to first-degree carjacking, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. Her plea agreement also provided that the remaining counts against her would be dismissed and the State would recommend a sentence of ten years imprisonment subject to an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under NERA. As part of her plea agreement, however, she reserved the right to seek a sentence in the seven to eight year range. She also agreed to cooperate with the State and to testify against defendant, although by then defendant had already pleaded guilty.
On February 6, 2004, defendant was sentenced pursuant to his plea agreement to ten years imprisonment subject to the eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under NERA. On March 12, 2004, the co-defendant was sentenced one degree lower, and received a seven year sentence of imprisonment, subject to the eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under NERA.
At the Excessive Sentencing Oral Argument calendar on May 4, 2005, defendant challenged the disparity in the two sentences. We remanded the case to the trial court to set forth the reasons for the disparity in the sentences. On remand, the trial judge explained that the co-defendant was given the lighter sentence because she had no prior record and she was not "the prime mover" of the offenses. At the Excessive Sentencing Oral Argument calendar on December 13, 2005, defendant again challenged the disparity in the sentences, and we directed that the case be placed on the regular calendar. The sentence was thereafter affirmed. State v. Salamon, No. A-5409-03 (App. Div. Sept. 22, 2006). The Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Salamon, 189 N.J. 428 (2007).
In his post-conviction relief petition, defendant argued ineffective assistance of trial counsel, maintaining that a conflict of interest was present because both he and his co-defendant were represented by attorneys from the same regional Public Defender's Office. The trial court denied the petition, and this appeal followed.
On appeal, defendant raises the following issues:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR ...