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State of New Jersey v. Joseph J. Brown

February 2, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSEPH J. BROWN, A/K/A JOSEPH BROWN, A/K/A JOHN BROWN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 01-11-2165.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 7, 2011

Before Judges Harris and Koblitz.

After a jury trial, defendant Joseph J. Brown was found guilty of third-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, and third- degree theft of movable property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a. He was sentenced on June 28, 2002, to an aggregate term of five years in prison with two years of parole ineligibility. His convictions were upheld on appeal. State v. Brown, No. A-6534-01 (App. Div. February 9, 2004), certif. denied, 180 N.J. 457 (2004).

In May 2007, having completed his custodial sentence, defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel. He claimed that his attorney exaggerated the State's evidence prior to trial, prompting defendant to write an incriminating card to the victim, which was admitted into evidence and contributed to his conviction. The motion judge denied defendant's PCR petition without an evidentiary hearing. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

On the afternoon of June 22, 2001, a neighbor saw a man leave his bicycle and walk toward the rear of Linda Walton's home. The neighbor later saw the same man running from the scene, cradling something in his arms. An officer responded to the scene and noted that the Walton's home had been broken into and ransacked. He broadcast a description of the burglar as a white male with long blonde hair, wearing denim jeans or shorts.

Another officer stopped defendant, who fit the description, in the area. He was drunk and disheveled. Defendant said he had left his bicycle down the street and agreed to cooperate. The neighbor identified defendant as the man he saw earlier near Walton's home. Defendant indicated he had left his bicycle in the victim's yard, but refused to explain why he was there. Although fingerprints were found in the home, they did not match defendant's. Property from Walton's home was found on the lawn.

On December 18, 2001, defendant sent a Christmas card to Walton, writing in part,

Ms. Warton, I just like you to know that I am truly sorry for what happen. It was a mistake. I was drunk! and I don't remember taking anything. But, if it was me, then Please Forgive me? . . . We all Make mistakes!?. .

[(punctuation, grammar, spelling and emphasis as in original.)]

In his PCR appeal defendant raises the following issues:

POINT ONE

DEFENSE COUNSEL'S NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE STATE'S EVIDENCE DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF HIS RIGHT TO THE ...


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