On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment Nos. 05-02-0347 and 05-02-0389.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Wefing and Yannotti.
Defendant Jose Perez appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on February 21, 2008, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm but remand to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment of conviction.
Defendant was charged under Essex County Indictment No. 05-02-0347 with two counts of second-degree robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. Defendant was also charged under Essex County Indictment No. 05-02-0389 with one count of second-degree burglary, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. On May 9, 2005, defendant pled guilty to all three charges.
As part of the plea agreement, the prosecutor agreed to recommend that defendant be sentenced on each count to seven years of incarceration, with a period of parole ineligibility as prescribed by the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, with all sentences to run concurrently. Defendant was sentenced on June 23, 2005 in accordance with the plea.
On June 21, 2007, defendant filed a pro se petition for PCR. Defendant alleged that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. The PCR court appointed counsel for defendant, who filed a brief in support of the petition. The PCR court considered the petition on February 21, 2008. After hearing the argument of counsel, the court placed its decision on the record. On that same date, the court filed a written opinion memorializing the decision that had been placed on the record. The court found that defendant had not been denied the effective assistance of counsel and denied the petition. This appeal followed.
Defendant raises the following arguments for our consideration:
THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT THE RIGHT TO BE PRESENT AT HIS INITIAL HEARING FOR POST[-]CONVICTION RELIEF.
THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FAILING TO FIND DEFENDANT ESTABLISHED A PRIMA FACIE CASE FOR INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED, BY THE U.S. CONST., AMENDS. VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. ART. I, PAR. 10.
We have carefully considered these arguments and conclude that they are entirely without merit. We affirm substantially for the reasons stated by the PCR court in the decision that it placed on the record on February 21, 2008, and in the written ...