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State of New Jersey v. Angela Barnes

August 24, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANGELA BARNES, A/K/A ANGELIA BARNES, ANGELICA BARNES, BARCHES ANGELA, BURNES ANGELA, LAFEES ANGELA, MORRIS TANYA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 07-05-1619.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted August 9, 2011

Before Judges Waugh and Koblitz.

Defendant Angela Barnes appeals the dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

This case arises out of the death of Tracy Meredith by stabbing on November 6, 2006, in Camden. In May 2007, Barnes was indicted and charged with the following offenses: purposeful or knowing murder, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1) or (2) (count one); third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count two); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) (count three); and third-degree terroristic threats, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(b) (count four).

On February 4, 2008, Barnes accepted a plea offer that called for her to plead guilty to count one of the indictment, which was amended to charge first-degree aggravated manslaughter, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4(a)(1). In exchange for the plea, the State agreed to recommend a sentence of incarceration between fifteen and eighteen years, subject to the eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility established by the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, and to dismiss the remaining charges. Before accepting the plea, the judge satisfied himself that the plea was entered into knowingly and voluntarily, and also that there was a factual basis for the plea.

Barnes was sentenced on April 11, 2008. The judge found aggravating factors three (the risk of reoffending), six (prior offenses and their seriousness), and nine (deterrence). N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a)(3), (6), and (9), respectively. The judge found mitigating factor five ("[t]he victim of the defendant's conduct induced or facilitated its commission"). N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(b)(5). He found that "the aggravating factors clearly, convincingly and substantially outweigh[ed] the mitigating factors." He imposed a sentence of incarceration for seventeen years, subject to NERA. The required fines and penalties were also imposed. No appeal was filed.

Barnes filed a pro se petition for PCR in August 2008. Her appointed counsel filed a letter brief in support of the petition, which was opposed by the State. A different judge heard oral argument on September 11, 2009. In an oral decision delivered following the argument, he denied Barnes's request for an evidentiary hearing and dismissed the petition. This appeal followed.

II.

Barnes raises the following arguments on appeal:

POINT I: THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ...


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