On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 88-12-2124.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 6, 2010 - Decided Before Judges Kestin and Coburn.
Defendant, Ramsey Wright, appeals from an order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.
In 1989, defendant received a three-year probationary sentence after having pled guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. In May 1990, defendant was sentenced to a four-year prison term after having pled guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone with intent to distribute. The same judgment of conviction provided for a concurrent term based on a guilty plea to a charge of aggravated assault. No direct appeal was filed in either the 1989 or 1990 matter.
The instant PCR petition was filed by defendant pro se in December 2008. Counsel was subsequently assigned. In his handwritten argument in support of the PCR petition, defendant stated that, in June 2002, he was convicted in Georgia of burglary and possession of tools for the commission of a crime. The record of his New Jersey convictions was presented to the sentencing court, and he received an enhanced sentence "as a recidivist pursuant to [Georgia law]" of twenty years with ten years "in confinement."
As the basis for the PCR relief he seeks, defendant alleges ineffective assistance of counsel in each of the New Jersey matters in which he entered guilty pleas, in 1989 and 1990. Judge Kracov engaged in a thorough review of the record in each matter in the light of defendant's current allegations. He found there was no adequate basis for defendant's assertions of ineffective assistance of counsel under the standards of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984), State v. Fritz, 105 N.J. 42 (1987), State v. DiFrisco, 137 N.J. 434 (1994), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1129, 116 S. Ct. 949, 133 L. Ed. 2d 873 (1996), and State v. Goodwin, 173 N.J. 583 (2002).
Judge Kracov also determined that this PCR petition was untimely, having been filed well beyond the five-year time requirement in Rule 3:22-12(a)(1). He found there was no basis in defendant's claim of excusable neglect: "In his papers he says he filed as expeditiously as possible once he recovered. There's nothing on the record beyond that and . . . that is not enough to prove excusable neglect." See State v. Mitchell, 126 N.J. 565, 576-580 (1992).
Defendant argues on appeal that his petition for PCR "should have been granted because his claims raised were of a constitutional nature and he demonstrated ineffective assistance of counsel." Our review of the record discloses that this argument is without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm on the basis of Judge Kracov's thorough analysis and well-expressed reasons for denying the relief sought.
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