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State v. Thomson

August 7, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DANIEL A. THOMSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Indictment No. 02-06-1321.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 6, 2009

Before Judges Payne and Waugh.

Defendant Daniel Thomson, with his brother, repeatedly stabbed a gas station attendant, causing his death. Following denial of the brothers' motions to suppress the statements given to the police, defendant entered a conditional plea of guilty to first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) or (2), receiving a sentence of thirty years in custody, with a thirty-year parole disqualifier. We affirmed defendant's conviction, State v. Thomson, No. A-1404-03T4 (App. Div. December 27, 2004) and certification was denied, State v. Thomson, 183 N.J. 216 (2005). Defendant then filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), which was denied without a hearing. Defendant has again appealed.

On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT I

DEFENDANT WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL, APPELLATE AND PCR COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF U.S. CONST AMENDS. VI, XIV; N.J. CONST. ART I, ¶ 10. (Partially raised below.)

POINT II

DEFENDANT'S GUILTY PLEA WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY AN ADEQUATE FACTUAL BASIS NOR WAS IT KNOWING[LY] AND VOLUNTARILY ENTERED. THEREFORE HE IS ENTITLED TO WITHDRAW THE PLEA AS A MATTER OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW. U.S. CONST. AMENDS. V, XIV; N.J. CONST. ART. 8, ¶ 1. (Partially raised below.)

POINT III

THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DENIED DEFENDANT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING.

Following our review of defendant's arguments in light of the record and applicable precedent, we affirm.

Our review of this matter is principally governed by the standards set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L.Ed. 2d 674, 693 (1984), adopted in New Jersey in State v. Fritz, 105 N.J. 42, 58 (1987). To prevail under Strickland's standards, defendant was required to show (1) "that counsel's performance was deficient," and that counsel made "errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment"; and (2) that counsel's "deficient performance prejudiced the defense," resulting in errors "so serious as to deprive the ...


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