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State v. M.J.

November 30, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
M.J., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 92-07-1255.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: November 5, 2009

Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.

Defendant appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). Defendant pled guilty in 1993 to second degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b, and was sentenced to a ten-year term of imprisonment. He is now civilly committed at the Special Treatment Unit (STU) pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38.

The victim is defendant's niece. At the time of the sexual assault, she was six years old. She regularly visited defendant's mother with whom he lived. During these visits, defendant sexually assaulted the child.

Defendant pled guilty to second degree sexual assault. During his plea proceeding, defendant admitted that he "fondled" and "touched [his niece] in a sexual manner," in her genital area. He admitted that he did so for personal sexual gratification.

On appeal, defendant raises the following argument:

TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE WHEN SHE FAILED TO MOVE [TO] CORRECT THE PRESENTENCE REPORT.

"Post-conviction relief is New Jersey's analogue to the federal writ of habeas corpus." State v. Preciose, 129 N.J. 451, 459 (1992). Under Rule 3:22-2, there are four grounds for PCR:

(a) Substantial denial in the conviction proceedings of defendant's rights under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution or laws of the State of New Jersey;

(b) Lack of jurisdiction of the court to impose the judgment rendered upon defendant's conviction;

(c) Imposition of sentence in excess of or otherwise not in accordance with the ...


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