On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Salem County, Indictment Nos. 02-02-00083-I and 02-08-00364-I.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Rodríguez and Chambers.
Defendant Mark Goodson appeals from the denial of his first petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). The petition alleged: ineffective assistance of trial counsel for not conducting an appropriate investigation and errors in sentencing. We reverse and remand for an evidentiary hearing.
In August 2003, defendant was found guilty, following a jury trial, of third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), and third degree possession of a CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1). The State moved for imposition of an extended term pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f). The judge granted the motion, merged the convictions, and imposed a ten-year term with a five-year parole disqualifier. These charges were listed in Salem Indictment No. 02-08-00364-I.
Then, defendant pleaded guilty, without the benefit of a plea agreement, to unrelated charges listed in Salem Indictment No. 02-02-00083-I. The charges were: second degree possession of a CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(2); third degree possession of a CDS, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1); and possession of a CDS with intent to distribute while within 1,000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7. The judge merged the convictions and imposed an extended ten-year term with a three-year parole disqualifier, to run consecutive to the terms imposed following the jury trial.
On direct appeal, we affirmed the convictions, but remanded for re-sentencing pursuant to State v. Natale, 184 N.J. 458 (2005), and State v. Abdullah, 184 N.J. 497 (2005). State v. Goodson, No. A-3968-03T4 (App. Div. Mar. 24, 2006), certif. denied, 188 N.J. 356 (2006). We have not been provided with the judgment of conviction following remand.*fn1
The proofs can be summarized as follows: on April 10, 2002, Salem County Prosecutor's Investigator Steven Dick received information from a reliable confidential informant that defendant was going to be making deliveries of cocaine at several locations in Carneys Point. The informant told Dick that defendant would be driving a tan Ford Taurus from his home on East Broadway and that narcotics could be located in either the front protective covering on the front of the vehicle or the gas cap area. The informant also relayed the approximate time that defendant would deliver the cocaine.
Detectives from the Salem County Prosecutor's Office coordinated a surveillance team. Around 8:00 p.m., Investigator John Pelura saw defendant park a gold Ford Taurus in front of defendant's residence. Defendant went inside and came back out within two minutes. Pelura saw defendant stand near the rear end of the car, facing the gas cap area. Then defendant drove away. Pelura lost sight of defendant's car for about five minutes. When Pelura spotted the car again, a sixteen-year-old girl (G.M.) was driving it and defendant was the sole passenger.
Dick radioed for a marked State Police car to stop defendant's car in Carneys Point. Dick arrived shortly thereafter and advised defendant that he was under investigation for allegedly transporting illegal drugs. He asked for consent to search the car. Defendant said he did not have any drugs on his person or in the car, which belonged to a girlfriend. He signed a standard consent to search form. An officer from the K-9 unit responded to the scene. The dog signaled an alert at the gas cap area on the passenger's side of the car. The officers opened the gas cap compartment and found twenty-three small bags of cocaine. Defendant was arrested.
At the Carneys Point police station, Salem County Prosecutor's Sergeant Brian Facemyer interviewed defendant. He read defendant his Miranda*fn2 rights. Defendant signed a Miranda waiver form and then gave a statement, confessing to possessing the cocaine. He said that he was going to sell it for $200.
At a pretrial hearing, the judge denied defendant's motion to suppress the cocaine. The judge found that "the confidential informant was, indeed, reliable in the legal sense, that the stop was constitutionally permissible, and, that the consent to search was knowingly and voluntarily entered into." At trial, defendant maintained that he lied during the statement to protect G.M. so that she would not be charged with the crimes. He maintained that the drugs were not his and that they were probably placed in the car by his brother.
Defendant filed a PCR petition, alleging that: (a) the prosecution filed the motion for an extended term outside of the fourteen-day time limit after arraignment; (b) the prosecutor gave no clear indication that he would seek an extended term; and (c) the judge never gave any reason for the imposition of a consecutive sentence. Defendant also submitted to the court a typewritten statement from G.M., ...