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State of New Jersey v. Daniel Holton

October 27, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DANIEL HOLTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cumberland County, Indictment No. 03-05-0433.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 19, 2011

Before Judges Grall and Alvarez.

A jury found defendant Daniel Holton guilty of second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(3); second-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2(a)(1); first-degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(b)(1); and fourth-degree false incrimination, N.J.S.A. 2C:28- 4(a). He was sentenced to an aggregate fifteen-year term subject to a period of parole ineligibility and supervision under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. We affirmed his convictions on direct appeal, State v. Holton, No. A-3428-04 (App. Div. Feb. 21, 2008), and the Supreme Court denied certification, 195 N.J. 420 (2008). Defendant now appeals from an order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

The evidence supporting defendant's convictions is set forth in our prior opinion and can be summarized as follows. Around midnight on January 17, 2003, an eighty-four-year old woman was home alone and asleep, but she was awakened by the sound of a bang at the door. In her hallway, she found a man wearing a mask that covered all of his face except his eyes. He refused to leave and forced the woman into the bedroom, where he bound her arms and legs and covered her with a blanket. She listened while he rifled through her drawers and emptied her purse in which she had about $50. After he left, she freed herself and phoned the police from her neighbor's home. She was able to describe her attacker as a tall white man wearing white sneakers.

Outside the burglarized home, there were two sets of footprints in the fresh snow made by someone wearing sneakers.

The officers tracked one set to a home; defendant and Charles Hope were renting and living in the garage on the property. With defendant's consent, the officers searched his half of the garage and did not find sneakers that matched the footprints.

Several days later, defendant contacted the police and told them he had overheard Hope and his landlord talking about the burglary. He gave them specific information - describing how the victim had been bound, the mask and the amount of cash taken. Based on that information, the police interviewed Hope but excluded him as a suspect. Thereafter, the investigators focused on defendant. Subsequently, defendant admitted that he had lied to the police, and implicated someone else, "Q." According to defendant, on the night of the burglary "Q" came to defendant's home and borrowed a crow bar and duct tape to rob a house; after "Q" left, defendant heard the bang at his neighbor's door. In a subsequent interview, defendant admitted conspiring with "Q" to rob the lady and agreeing to serve as the "lookout." Defendant said he was afraid of "Q." He was arrested and confined.

While in jail, defendant implicated his landlord. No other suspect was indicted with defendant. He was tried in October 2004, and his judgment of conviction was entered on December 17, 2004. He filed his petition for PCR on July 22, 2008, and it was denied on January 11, 2010.

I

Defendant raises these issues on appeal from the denial of his petition:

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


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