On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 04-04-1248.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 14, 2011
Before Judges Lihotz and St. John.
Defendant Angel Martinez appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) seeking to vacate his guilty plea. We affirm.
These events underlie defendant's convictions. On September 20, 2003, defendant approached Jose Montesdeoca's home and asked for a glass of water. Montesdeoca went inside to oblige defendant's request. When Montesdeoca returned with the water, defendant, armed with a knife, entered the residence, stabbed Montesdeoca and took his wallet. Edwin Montesdeoca also was stabbed by defendant when he responded to his father's cries for help.
Defendant pleaded guilty to all offenses charged in an eight-count indictment: armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one); second-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 (count two); two counts of second-degree aggravated assault, inflicting significant bodily injury, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1) (counts three and six); two counts of fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) (counts four and seven); and two counts of third-degree possession of a weapon with an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (counts five and eight). After merger, an aggregate twelve year sentence was imposed, subject to the parole ineligibility restrictions set forth in the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. Defendant was ordered to serve this sentence consecutively to a previously imposed twenty-one year sentence on an unrelated offense.
On direct appeal, defendant challenged only his sentence, which was presented on our Excessive Sentence Oral Argument calendar, and affirmed. State v. Martinez, No. A-2687-06 (App. Div. Jan. 10, 2008). Certification was not sought.
Defendant filed a petition for PCR seeking an evidentiary hearing on his request to vacate his guilty plea, asserting trial counsel was ineffective in failing to challenge the identification evidence and was deficient in providing advice regarding the penal consequences of his plea. Defendant also requested the court review the order imposing a consecutive sentence.
The PCR judge, who had accepted defendant's plea and imposed his sentence, denied the PCR petition. The court determined defendant's claims lacked merit, obviating an evidentiary hearing.
On appeal, defendant presents these issues for consideration:
THE PCR COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO GRANT DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING.
A. The Failure of Counsel to Request a Wade*fn1 Hearing and the Confusing Nature of the Plea Bargain which Resulted in Consecutive Sentences, Deprived Defendant of his Constitutional Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel.
B. The Right to Post-Conviction Relief.
C. Counsel's Behavior Cannot be Categorized as Anything other than Ineffective Requiring ...