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State v. Bell

November 17, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LAWRENCE BELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 91-05-1163.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: October 15, 2009

Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.

Defendant Lawrence Bell appeals from the denial of his second petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) and his motion for a new trial. He is serving an aggregate term of life imprisonment plus fifty years with a fifty-five year period of parole ineligibility following his conviction of murder, felony murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, robbery, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, hindering apprehension, and sexual assault.

This court affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence. State v. Bell, No. A-1632-92 (App. Div. Mar. 7, 1996) (slip op. at 18). The Supreme Court denied certification. 145 N.J. 371 (1996). We affirmed the denial of defendant's first petition for PCR, No. A-2328-99 (App. Div. Jan. 24, 2002) (slip op. at 10).

As related in our earlier opinions, the charges arise from the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a young woman and the kidnapping of her four year old son. Defendant was fourteen at the time of the offenses.

On appeal defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT ONE

THE PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN OF A JUVENILE JUST OVER THE AGE OF 14 YEARS WHO DOES NOT HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD SHOULD BE PRESENT DURING A CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION IF POSSIBLE REGARDLESS OF THE CHILD'S DESIRES.

POINT TWO

THE PCR COURT ERRED BY FAILING TO CONDUCT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE DEFENDANT'S PRIOR COUNSEL PROVIDED THE DEFENDANT WITH CONSTITUTIONALLY INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE WHERE NEITHER OF HIS PCR COUNSEL ATTEMPTED TO LOCATE HIS LEGAL GUARDIAN NOR RAISED THE ISSUE REGARDING THE VOLUNTARINESS OF HIS CONFESSION.

POINT THREE

THE TIME BAR SHOULD BE RELAXED IN SPITE OF THE LENGTHY PASSAGE WHERE THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE RAISED FOR THE FIRST TIME IS WEIGHTY AND WAS NOT INTENTIONALLY DELAYED BY THE DEFENDANT.

POINT FOUR

N.J.R. 3:22-4 IS BARELY EMPLOYED TO BAR SIGNIFICANT ...


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