March 16, 2010
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
RAHEEM WARD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 99-05-0457.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: February 24, 2010
Before Judges Cuff and Payne.
Defendant Raheem Ward filed an appeal from the June 9, 2008 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). Defendant claimed in his October 3, 2007 pro se petition that the July 7, 2000 conviction of attempted aggravated sexual assault should be vacated because his guilty plea was involuntary. Judge Mizzone held, quite reasonably, that defendant's petition was filed well beyond the five-year period allowed by Rule 3:22-12, and defendant had not demonstrated excusable neglect.
Defendant died on May 6, 2009, the victim of a homicide. Under the circumstances, we dismiss the appeal. In doing so, we consider review of the order denying defendant's PCR petition as moot due to his death; the underlying conviction is not affected. See State v. Gartland, 149 N.J. 456, 465 (1997) (a criminal conviction following death of the defendant considered only when the record demonstrates a fundamental miscarriage of justice).
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