On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 07-12-2005.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 17, 2011
Before Judges J. N. Harris and Fasciale.
Defendant Lawrence Gebhardt appeals from his convictions for two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a; and two counts of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(4). Defendant committed the underlying crimes against four different victims. Defendant argues that the judge erred by (1) denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing, and (2) imposing an excessive sentence. We disagree and affirm. Pursuant to the plea agreement, defendant pled guilty in exchange for the State's recommendation that he be sentenced to four consecutive five-year prison terms. At the plea hearing on August 18, 2009, the following exchange occurred:
The Court: Now, do you understand, at the time of sentencing, the [S]tate is going to recommend to me that I sentence you on each of these four counts to five years in state prison to run consecutively, which means that I would sentence you to an aggregate term of twenty years in state prison? Do you understand that.
The Court: And this is a consecutive sentence. Do you know the difference between consecutive and concurrent?
The Defendant: Yes The Court: All right. But in this particular case, you're requesting and asking that I sentence you to a consecutive term, which means five, plus five, plus five, plus five, which equals twenty in doing the math. Do you understand that?
Defendant then admitted to several incidents of sexual assault
occurring from August 2006 through September 2007. The judge
concluded, "I'm satisfied that . . . defendant is pleading
guilty freely and voluntarily, that he understands what he's doing,
and he understands the consequences of what he's doing. I'm satisfied
with the factual basis, and I will accept the plea."
On June 23, 2010, defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and argued that he believed the sentence was to be a flat five years and not an aggregate of twenty years. Applying the factors enunciated in State v. ...