February 1, 2011
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
WILLIAM MCRAE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment Nos. 03-03-0424 and 04-03-0434.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 20, 2011
Before Judges Fisher and Fasciale.
On January 10, 2005, pursuant to agreement, defendant pled guilty to the first-degree aggravated manslaughter of one man, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4(a), and the first-degree attempted murder of another, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3; other charges were dismissed. Judge Kevin G. Callahan sentenced defendant to concurrent eighteen year prison terms, subject to the parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.
Defendant appealed, arguing the excessiveness of his sentence. We affirmed. State v. McRae, No. A-4816-04 (App. Div. Nov. 15, 2006).
On June 11, 2008, defendant filed a petition for post- conviction relief (PCR), arguing his trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to sufficiently investigate or ascertain an adequate defense to the charges and failed to urge defendant's medical history in arguing mitigation at the time of sentencing.*fn1 The PCR petition was denied by Judge Callahan without an evidentiary hearing for reasons set forth in a written opinion, in which the judge correctly found defendant's allegations of ineffectiveness were based only on bald assertions.
Defendant has appealed, reprising the arguments he asserted in the trial court by way of the following points:
I. THE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO COUNSEL.
A. BASIC APPLICABLE COURT RULES AND LAW SUPPORT THE DEFENDANT'S APPEAL.
B. COUNSEL FAILED TO CONDUCT ADEQUATE . . . INVESTIGATION IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL DEFENSE AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY ARGUE FOR A SIGNIFICANT MITIGATING FACTOR AT THE SENTENCING HEARING.
II. THE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF APPELLATE COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO COUNSEL.
III. AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING IS WARRANTED.
We find insufficient merit in these arguments to warrant discussion in a written opinion, R. 2:11-3(e)(2), and affirm substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Callahan's written opinion.