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State v. Williams

April 27, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
NASHEED WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 99-02-0734.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 14, 2010

Before Judges Fisher and Espinosa.

Nasheed Williams appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, filed six years after he was sentenced. We affirm.

Pursuant to a plea agreement, defendant pled guilty to an amended charge, second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(1), on January 4, 2000. At the time of his guilty plea, defendant executed the supplemental plea form for certain sexual offenses, which asked the defendant to confirm his understanding that he would be subject to Megan's Law requirements of registration, address verification and notification as well as a mandatory special sentence of community supervision for life and DNA testing. In addition, the form advises the following regarding involuntary commitment:

Do you understand that if you are incarcerated as a repetitive and compulsive sex offender you may be subject to involuntary commitment following the expiration of your sentence?

Defendant answered, "Yes[,]" to this and all other questions on the form. He was not, however, determined to be a repetitive and compulsive sex offender at this time.

Defendant was sentenced, consistent with the terms of the plea agreement, to a sentence of five years, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, three years parole supervision upon release, community supervision for life and appropriate Megan's Law requirements, fines and penalties.

Defendant did not appeal from his conviction or sentence.

In October 2002, before defendant completed his custodial term, the Attorney General's office initiated civil commitment proceedings pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. Following a hearing, the court determined that the State had established the requisite criteria for commitment under the SVPA and judgment was entered in December 2002, ordering that he be civilly committed to the Special Treatment Unit. Defendant appealed from that judgment and we affirmed. In re the Civil Commitment of N.W., No. A-2333-02 (App. Div. June 2, 2004).

Defendant filed this petition for post-conviction relief on July 27, 2006, six years after he was sentenced. His claim for relief alleged that he "did not have the capacity to understand the ramifications of the plea bargain that he was entering into, nor was he apprised of the existence of the [SVPA] or the possibility of future civil commitment." The trial court denied the petition on the grounds that the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was without merit; that the petition was time-barred by R. 3:22-12; and that State v. Bellamy, 178 N.J. 127 (2003) did not apply to this case. On appeal, defendant argues that his petition should have been granted because his claims "were of a constitutional nature and he demonstrated ineffective assistance of counsel."

After carefully considering 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 only the following comments.

The thrust of defendant's petition is a request to afford him relief based upon an extension of the holding in Bellamy, supra, which was decided three years after he was sentenced. In Bellamy, the Court concluded that "fundamental fairness requires that the trial court inform a defendant of the possible consequences under the [SVPA]" at the time of guilty plea. 178 N.J. at 138. However, the Supreme Court explicitly limited the application of its ruling to "those cases pending in which the defendant has not yet exhausted all avenues of direct ...


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