On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 08-01-0088.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 15, 2011
Before Judges Wefing, Payne and Koblitz.
The opinion of the court was delivered by PAYNE, J.A.D.
Defendant, James E. Barlow, appeals from the denial of his request to retract his guilty plea and proceed to trial. On appeal, he raises the following arguments:
BECAUSE DEFENDANT RAISED A COLORABLE CLAIM OF INNOCENCE, THE COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO PERMIT HIM TO RETRACT HIS GUILTY PLEA AND PROCEED TO TRIAL.
TRIAL COUNSEL'S ACTIONS UNDERMINING DEFENDANT'S ATTEMPT TO RETRACT HIS PLEA DEPRIVED HIM OF THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.
Because we find that counsel was ineffective in her representation of defendant thereby depriving him of his constitutional right to counsel at a crucial stage of the criminal proceedings against him, we reverse.
This matter arises out of an incident, occurring at 12:28 a.m. on July 8, 2007 in Trenton, during which three people were robbed at gunpoint by two black males wearing black hooded sweatshirts, who then fled on foot. According to defendant's pre-sentence investigation report, the police were summoned, and at 12:35 a.m., while driving in an unmarked car, they observed two black males, later identified as Robert McIntosh and James Barlow, crossing the street. McIntosh was wearing a black T-shirt and carrying a black back pack. The police shined a flashlight on McIntosh, who was observed to be visibly startled by the officers' presence. While illuminated by the flashlight, McIntosh was also seen to take a silver handgun from his waist area and place it in the backpack, dropping the backpack to the ground. The police thereupon exited their vehicle and patted down McIntosh and Barlow, recovering jewelry from the pockets of both men. A gun and a black/camouflage-colored hooded ...