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State v. Tormasi

May 26, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WALTER A. TORMASI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Indictment No. 97-04-0234.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 6, 2009

Before Judges Stern, Lyons and Espinosa.

In January 1998, defendant, Walter Tormasi, was tried and convicted of murder, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, and related weapons offenses for the ambush-style shooting of his mother, Frances Tormasi. Defendant was sixteen-years old at the time of the murder but, following the appropriate hearing, he was tried as an adult. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with thirty years of parole ineligibility.

Defendant thereafter appealed his conviction and we affirmed in an unpublished opinion filed on July 20, 2001, State v. Tormasi, Docket No. A-5530-97T5 (App. Div. July 20, 2001). Defendant then filed for certification before the Supreme Court, which was denied on January 10, 2002. State v. Tormasi, 171 N.J. 42 (2002). Thereafter, defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), which Judge Edward M. Coleman denied on July 23, 2007.

Defendant now appeals the order denying his PCR application and makes the following arguments for our consideration:

POINT I THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL.

A. Trial counsel failed to properly cross-examine Brian Smith.

B. Trial counsel failed to properly examine defendant's father, Attila, Sr.

C. Trial counsel failed to present witnesses who would have rebutted the testimony of Kenneth Riker.

D. Trial counsel failed to investigate and present evidence implicating defendant's father, Attila, Sr., in the murder.

E. Trial counsel failed to protect defendant's right to a fair and impartial jury.

F. Trial counsel failed to present evidence concerning a trained police dog's inability to detect gunpowder on defendant shortly after the murder.

G. Trial counsel failed to impeach Maria Ivan with inconsistent portions of her statement to police.

H. Trial counsel failed to move to suppress illegally seized evidence and testimony.

POINT II THE LOWER COURT ORDER DENYING THE PETITION MUST BE REVERSED SINCE CUMULATIVE ERRORS BY TRIAL COUNSEL AMOUNTED TO ...


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