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State v. Jean-Louis

October 30, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ETZER JEAN-LOUIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 01-08-1455.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 15, 2009

Before Judges Lyons and J. N. Harris.

Defendant, Etzer Jean-Louis, appeals a January 19, 2007, order denying his motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows.

The victim of the charges against defendant was J.D., a sixteen-year-old learning disabled child who, at the time of the asserted event, was visiting her cousin's home. A small group of young people eventually congregated there, including defendant, a friend of the cousin. According to the victim's testimony, defendant brutally sodomized her when they were alone in the kitchen, defendant having gone in there for food and the cousin having asked the victim to check on what defendant was doing. Defendant, the victim asserted, repeatedly told her not to say anything about the attack. Although she did not tell anyone that day because of her acute embarrassment, the next day, she confided in two friends at school. Seeing how upset she was, the friends reported what she had told them to school authorities. The school authorities then confirmed that information with the victim. A physical examination of the victim shortly thereafter revealed corroborating injuries, and the indictment ensued.

Following a trial by jury, defendant was convicted of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(1), and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3b. He was sentenced to an eight-year term on the second-degree crime, subject to an eighty-five percent parole ineligibility term pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, the No Early Release Act (NERA).

He was also sentenced to a concurrent one-year term on the fourth-degree offense. Defendant appealed his convictions, and we affirmed. State v. Jean-Louis, No. A-2430-02T4 (App. Div. May 21, 2004).

On May 23, 2005, defendant filed a PCR petition. On January 19, 2007, the trial court entertained oral argument on defendant's application. Defendant's counsel argued that defendant's trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective. He alleged defendant's trial counsel failed to investigate and interview potential witnesses for the defense; failed to adequately investigate the medical evidence that was submitted in the State's case; did not advance a cogent trial strategy; and failed to adequately consult with defendant. Defendant's counsel, following his argument, requested an evidentiary hearing. The trial court found that defendant's application was without merit, and it, therefore, denied the request for an evidentiary hearing and defendant's application. This appeal ensued.

On appeal, defendant raises the following points for our consideration:

POINT I

THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ...


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