August 16, 2010
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
DAVID BIANCHINI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Municipal Appeal No. 22-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 3, 2010
Before Judges Graves and Yannotti.
Defendant David Bianchini appeals from an order dated August 5, 2009, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.
On December 11, 2005, at approximately 2:45 a.m., a member of the Delaware River Port Authority Police Department arrested defendant and charged him with driving while intoxicated (DWI), in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. The complaint-summons issued to defendant specified that the offense occurred on "76E-WWB," i.e., Interstate 76 East - Walt Whitman Bridge. On February 14, 2006, defendant appeared in the Gloucester City Municipal Court with his attorney and pled guilty to DWI. Defendant admitted he consumed "at least" seven beers and acknowledged his blood- alcohol level was .15%.
This was defendant's second DWI conviction. Nevertheless, because the arresting officer had noted in his report that defendant was "polite, calm and cooperative," defense counsel asked the court to sentence defendant "to the mandatory minimums." The municipal court judge imposed all statutorily mandated fines, penalties, fees, and assessments, and suspended defendant's driving privileges for two years. Defendant was also required to perform thirty days of community service and to complete forty-eight hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
Defendant did not appeal his conviction or his sentence, but on December 30, 2008, he filed a PCR petition in which he claimed the Gloucester City Municipal Court did not have territorial jurisdiction over his case because "[t]he operation of [his] vehicle took place exclusively in the State of Pennsylvania." In a certification in support of his petition, defendant stated: "I was traveling from South Street, Philadelphia, PA, when I was stopped by the police on the eastbound ramp exit for the Walt Whitman Bridge off of Front Street in Pennsylvania." In addition, defendant argued the court failed to elicit an adequate factual basis for his plea.
Following oral argument on April 7, 2009, the municipal court judge denied defendant's PCR petition. The judge's findings and conclusions included the following:
As regards to the issue of jurisdiction, the defendant's motion is denied. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 32:4-6 gives Delaware River Port Authority officers jurisdiction, and the statute specifically defines bridges, tunnels, and approaches thereto. Clearly, based upon what's been presented to the Court, this defendant was on the bridge or at least an approach thereto.
The Court cites the case of State v. Holden, [46 N.J. 361 (1966)], which holds that the New Jersey Courts do have jurisdiction over cases on the bridge and bridge approaches, and clearly, the jurisdictional issue in this Court's mind is not an issue.
As to the factual basis . . . [t]he defendant admitted consuming at least seven beers. A .15 BAC was stipulated. . . . Defendant's motion for post-conviction relief in this case is denied.
Defendant appealed to the Law Division, which affirmed the order of the municipal court on August 5, 2009. On appeal to this court, defendant presents the following arguments:
NEW JERSEY DID NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO HEAR THIS MATTER BECAUSE THE OFFENSE OCCURRED IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.
THE MUNICIPAL COURT FAILED TO ELICIT AN ADEQUATE FACTUAL BASIS FROM MR. BIANCHINI DURING THE GUILTY PLEA.
THE LAW DIVISION SHOULD HAVE REMANDED THIS MATTER TO THE MUNICIPAL COURT FOR FURTHER FINDINGS ON THE ISSUE OF INEFFECTIVENESS OF COUNSEL.
We reject these arguments and affirm the denial of defendant's PCR petition substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Cook's letter opinion and order dated August 5, 2009. Defendant's arguments do not warrant any additional discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
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