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State v. Cooke

July 29, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KEVIN COOKE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Camden County, Indictment Nos. 01-04-1157 and 02-04-1280.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 20, 2009

Before Judges Stern and Rodríguez.

Defendant, Kevin Cooke, appeals from the denial of his first petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

In March 2003, defendant entered a negotiated guilty plea to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a, and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute while within 1,000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss a charge of first-degree murder and to recommend concurrent terms aggregating eighteen years with a NERA*fn1 parole disqualifier.

Defendant gave the following factual basis under oath:

[THE COURT]: All right. It's now alleged under that count, Count One, that on or about 13 -- the 13th day of July, 2001 in Camden City you recklessly caused the death of Corey Smith under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value -- or to human life in violation of law. It's still a first degree offense, but the maximum is now 30 years, not the life sentence. How do you plead to that charge, guilty or not guilty?

[DEFENDANT]: Guilty.

Q: On July 13th, 2001 you were in Camden City, correct?

A: Yes.

Q: And at some point during the course of that particular day you encountered Corey Smith, correct?

A: Right.

Q: And you knew Corey Smith from before, right?

A: Yes.

Q: And there was a problem that you had with him earlier in the day of July 13th, correct?

A: No.

Q: No? What happened on that day that makes you guilty of the aggravated manslaughter?

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Judge, can I?

Q: Yeah. You may -- can help me. Sure.

A: All right.

Q: Again, you were in the City of Camden on July 13th, 2001 correct?

A: Right.

Q: All right. And you were in an area of Camden where you saw Corey Smith that ...


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