July 20, 2011
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
JAMES R. KNIGHT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 99-10-0602.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted May 11, 2011
Before Judges Fuentes and Ashrafi.
Defendant James R. Knight appeals from the order of the trial court denying his post-conviction relief (PCR) petition.
Commencing on May 1 and ending on May 7, 2002, defendant was tried before a jury and convicted of murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 3a(1), and fourth degree tampering with physical evidence, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-6(1). He was sentenced July 26, 2002, on the murder conviction to a term of life imprisonment, with thirty years of parole ineligibility, and to a consecutive eighteen- month term on the fourth degree offense. We affirmed the conviction and sentence on direct appeal, State v. James R. Knight, Docket No. A-0284-02 (App. Div. March 21, 2005), and the Supreme Court denied certification, 185 N.J. 38 (2005).
We will dispense with reciting at length the facts that led to defendant's conviction. We will, instead, incorporate the factual recitation reflected in our unpublished opinion affirming defendant's conviction. Id. at slip op. 4-8. Defendant filed this PCR petition on November 15, 2005. The petition was thereafter amended on January 26, 2007, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Defendant claimed that but for his attorney's failure to provide proper advice on the consequences of standing for trial, he would have accepted a more favorable plea offer made by the State. Judge John A. Almeida denied defendant's petition. He explained his reasons in a memorandum of opinion dated May 15, 2009. Defendant now appeals, raising the following arguments:
THIS MATTER MUST BE REMANDED FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING BECAUSE DEFENDANT ESTABLISHED A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF TRIAL COUNSEL'S INEFFECTIVENESS.
A. TRIAL COUNSEL FAILED TO PURSUE AN INTOXICATION DEFENSE.
B. TRIAL COUNSEL FAILED TO EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCES OF A GUILTY PLEA TO AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER AND/OR GOING TO TRIAL.
We reject these arguments and affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Almeida in his memorandum of opinion.
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