December 22, 2009
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
COREY ARMSTEAD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 01-07-0771.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 7, 2009
Before Judges Alvarez and Coburn.
This is an appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief.
A jury found defendant guilty on four controlled dangerous substance counts, including second degree distribution within five-hundred feet of public housing, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a), and N.J.S.A. 2C:2-6 (count four). The trial judge merged the first three counts of the indictment into the fourth count and imposed an extended term of imprisonment for eighteen years with a minimum parole ineligibility term of nine years. The sentence was consecutive to an extended term sentence imposed on defendant six months earlier on a similar charge. Defendant appealed; we affirmed, State v. Corey Armstead, No. A-577-02T4 (App. Div. February 2, 2004) (slip op.), and the Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Armstead, 180 N.J. 356 (2004).
Defendant's petition for post-conviction relief was subsequently denied, and this appeal ensued. Defendant offers the following arguments in support of his claim that the denial of post-conviction should be reversed:
POINT I: DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO COUNSEL WHEN TRIAL COUNSEL FAILED TO FORCEFULLY ADVOCATE FOR DEFENDANT. THIS WEAK REPRESENTATION SATISFIES THE CRITERIA FOR INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL ESTABLISHED IN STRICKLAND V. WASHINGTION, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
A. POST-CONVICTION RELIEF (PCR) RULES AND ADDITIONAL LAW SUPPORT THE DEFENDANT'S CLAIM.
B. FORCEFUL ADVOCATION REQUIRES THAT TRIAL COUNSEL THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE DEFENDANT'S CASE.
C. TRIAL COUNSEL SHOULD HAVE AGGRESSIVELY MOVED FOR A MISTRIAL WHEN THE PROSECUTOR FAILED TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE DISCOVERY IN A TIMELY MANNER.
D. TRIAL COUNSEL SHOULD HAVE MOVED FOR POSSIBLE CONSOLIDATION OR JOINDER OF SIMILAR OFFENSES.
POINT II: DEFENDANT RECEIVED INADEQUATE REPRESENTATION BY APPELLATE COUNSEL.
POINT III: AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING IS REQUIRED TO DETERMINE THE MERITS OF DEFENDANT'S CLAIMS.
After carefully reviewing the record and briefs, we are satisfied that all of defendant's arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We add these brief comments on a few of his main points.
Although defendant asserts that trial and appellate counsel were ineffective, the assertion is made without any factual support. For example, he complains about the failure to obtain supposed crime scene witnesses, but he neither identifies them nor shows what they would say. He asserts ineffective cross- examination, but does not cite examples from the record to support that claim. He asserts that his counsel's failure to force the state to try other drug charges with the charges in question somehow prejudiced him. But he does not say how. In any case, if anything, joinder of the other drug offenses would have made his conviction even more likely.
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