On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 06-04-0308; 06-04-0614; 05-10-1100.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Parrillo and Skillman.
Defendant was charged under one indictment with purposeful or knowing murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1) or (2), and various other offenses. Defendant was also charged under another indictment with aggravated assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-13, and under an accusation with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Defendant entered into a plea bargain under which she agreed to plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter, as a lesser included offense of the purposeful or knowing murder charged in the first indictment, and to the charges in the other indictment and accusation. The trial court accepted that plea bargain and sentenced defendant in accordance with its terms to a seventeen-and-a-half year term of imprisonment, subject to the 85% period of parole ineligibility mandated by the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, for aggravated manslaughter, a concurrent eighteen-month term for aggravated assault, and a concurrent four-year term for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The court dismissed the other charges contained in the first indictment. We heard defendant's appeal from the sentence imposed in accordance with the plea bargain on an excess sentence calendar, see R. 2:9-11, and affirmed for the reasons set forth in a brief oral opinion rendered on March 27, 2007. State v. Raymond, No. A-865-06 (Mar. 27, 2007).
Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief based on the alleged ineffective assistance of her trial and appellate counsel. However, as made clear by counsel representing her on the petition, defendant did not seek to withdraw her plea. The only relief defendant sought on her petition was to "reduce her sentence, modify her sentence to some extent."
Judge Perfilio denied defendant's petition by a comprehensive oral opinion delivered on June 26, 2009. On appeal from the denial of her petition, defendant presents the following arguments:
POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AFFORDIDNG HER AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO FULLY ADDRESS HER CONTENTION THAT SHE FAILED TO RECEIVE ADEQUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT THE TRIAL LEVEL.
A. THE PREVAILING LEGAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING CLAIMS OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS AND PETITIONS FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF.
B. TRIAL COUNSEL FAILED TO ADEQUATELY REPRESENT THE DEFENDANT'S INTERESTS AT SENTENCING BY FAILING TO SUFFICIENTLY DEMONSTRATE THE APPLICABILITY OF VARIOUS MITIGATING FACTORS AND BY FAILING TO EMPHASIZE THE INAPPLICABILITY OF THREE OF THE FOUR AGGRAVATING FACTORS RELIED UPON BY THE TRIAL COURT IN IMPOSING SENTENCING.
Defendant's appellate brief reaffirms that her ineffective assistance of counsel claims are limited to her sentencing and that she is not seeking an opportunity to withdraw her plea.
We reject the arguments defendant presents on this appeal and affirm the denial of her petition substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Perfilio's June 26, 2009 oral opinion. Defendant's arguments do not warrant any additional discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).