October 5, 2009
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
MICHAEL K. CULHANE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Indictment No. 03-03-0617.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 23, 2009
Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.
Defendant Michael K. Culhane appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). The record before us reveals that Culhane's PCR counsel did not review trial counsel's file in connection with his representation of Culhane before the PCR court. It appears that there was a dispute between trial and PCR counsel as to which of them had the obligation to arrange for the review.
Because we conclude that a review of trial counsel's file, assuming it is still in existence, is a necessary step for proper representation by PCR counsel, we temporarily remand this matter to the Law Division. Trial and PCR counsel shall promptly arrange for PCR counsel to review the file, with the PCR judge facilitating the process if necessary. Once PCR counsel has reviewed the file and consulted with his client, he shall advise the Clerk of the Appellate Division whether there is a need to continue the remand so that the record can be supplemented and any additional or supplemental arguments can be made to the PCR judge. This process shall be completed within forty-five days of the date of this opinion.
Temporarily remanded with instructions. Jurisdiction is retained.
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