July 15, 2009
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
IBRAHIM SULAIMANI, A/K/A SIR WILLIAM EARL JACKSON, A/K/A KHASHIF MUHAMMAD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 88-11-1273.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: June 30, 2009
Before Judges Cuff and Fuentes.
Defendant Ibrahim Sulaimani appeals from the denial of his second petition for post-conviction relief. He is serving a life term with a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility for felony murder, armed robbery, burglary and weapon offenses. This court affirmed the conviction, State v. Jackson, No. A-676-90 (App. Div. September 22, 1994); the Supreme Court denied certification, 140 N.J. 329 (1995). We affirmed the denial of defendant's first petition for post-conviction relief, State v. Muhammad, No. A-505-96 (App. Div. January 21, 1999).
In this second petition, defendant argued that his initial trial attorney failed to communicate to him a favorable plea offer received prior to trial. Defendant contends that this omission deprived him of effective assistance of counsel and the error is so egregious to overcome the five-year limitation period.
Judge Council held that the petition was procedurally barred. As to the merits of an uncommunicated plea offer, the judge held that it lacked sufficient merit to require appointment of counsel or to overcome the five-year limitation period.
On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:
POINT I THE PCR JUDGE ERRED IN FAILING TO CONDUCT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO ADJUDICATE THE DEFENDANT'S CLAIM THAT HE WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.
POINT II THE PROCEDURAL BAR TO THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELAXED DUE TO EXCUSABLE NEGLECT AND IN THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE.
This second petition faces formidable obstacles. The first petition for post-conviction relief filed by defendant was timely, having been filed within five years of his August 10, 1990 conviction. R. 3:22-12(a). The present petition, filed on July 1, 2008, is grossly out-of-time and defendant asserts no facts to demonstrate that the delay is excusable. Ibid. Furthermore, defendant raises issues in this second petition that could have and should have been presented on direct appeal.
R. 3:22-4. Defendant has not demonstrated that any issue raised in this second petition could not reasonably have been raised on direct appeal or in his first petition, that enforcement of this rule would cause a fundamental injustice, or that denial of relief would offend any federal or state constitutional rights.
As to the merits, none of the issues raised by defendant are of sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Council in his August 14, 2008 letter opinion.
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