On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 87-01-0289.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 27, 2012 -
Before Judges Parrillo and Skillman.
In 1986, defendant, who was then sixteen years old, was charged with acts of juvenile delinquency which, if committed by an adult, would constitute aggravated assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1); possession of a handgun without a permit, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b); and possession of a handgun with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a). The State filed a motion to waive these charges to adult court. At a hearing conducted on August 28, 1986, defendant consented to the waiver of the charges to adult court, contrary to the advice of his attorney, and the Family Part granted the State's motion.
A grand jury subsequently returned an indictment charging defendant with the same offenses charged in the juvenile complaint. Defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea bargain to the aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose charges. The trial court sentenced defendant in accordance with the plea agreement to a nine-year term of imprisonment, with three years of parole ineligibility, for aggravated assault and merged defendant's conviction for possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. The court dismissed the charge of possession of a handgun without a permit. Defendant did not file a direct appeal from his conviction.
In 1994, defendant sent a letter to the trial court expressing an interest in pursuing a petition for post- conviction relief. The court advised defendant by a letter dated June 30, 1994, that a petition would be untimely because it had not been filed within five years of the judgment of conviction and suggested to defendant that he "communicate directly with the Office of the Public Defender . . . to determine whether any further action can be taken on your behalf." Insofar as the record before us indicates, defendant did not take any further action to challenge his conviction at that time.
In April 2009, defendant filed a petition for post- conviction relief. Assigned counsel filed a brief and other papers in support of the petition. On February 17, 2010, the trial court filed a comprehensive written opinion and order denying the petition.
On appeal from the denial of his petition, defendant presents the following arguments:
THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED THE LAW AS WOODSON IS ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF AND AN EVIDENCE HEARING BASED ON THE TIMELY FILING OF THE VERIFIED PETITION AND A MERITORIOUS CLAIM OF INADEQUATE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.
THE TRIAL JUDGE MISAPPLIED THE LAW AS WOODSON'S REQUEST FOR POST-CONVICTION ...