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State of New Jersey v. Osborne Williams A/K/A Osborne Williams

March 13, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
OSBORNE WILLIAMS A/K/A OSBORNE WILLIAMS, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 99-09-2747.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 28, 2012

Before Judges Reisner and Simonelli.

Defendant Osborne Williams appeals from a February 19, 2009 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I

Defendant was indicted for first-degree murder, and associated offenses, arising from the stabbing death of Elton Harper. On August 31, 2000, after a thorough voir dire concerning his complete satisfaction with his attorney's services, defendant pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1). At the plea hearing, defendant admitted that on February 5, 1999, he "got into a fight" with Harper and stabbed him to death.

At the sentencing hearing on October 20, 2000, the victim's relatives made statements concerning their loss, read written statements from the victim's two young children, and urged that defendant receive a sentence of life in prison. Defendant's attorney eloquently argued that defendant was genuinely remorseful and urged the court to sentence defendant pursuant to the plea agreement. Defendant likewise expressed his remorse to the court and apologized to the victim's family.

The sentencing range for aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1), was between ten and thirty years in prison. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4c. Consistent with the terms of the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced on October 20, 2000 to twenty-one years and six months in prison, eighty-five percent to be served without parole pursuant to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. Defendant's direct appeal was heard on an Excessive Sentence Oral Argument calendar, and we affirmed the sentence. State v. Williams, No. A-3423-02 (App. Div. Jan. 11, 2005), certif. denied, 183 N.J. 257 (2005). Following the Supreme Court's decision in State v. Natale, 184 N.J. 458 (2005), the trial court reconsidered the sentence but imposed the same prison term. Defendant did not appeal from that sentence.*fn1

Defendant filed his first PCR petition in March 2008, more than seven years after the entry of the original judgment of conviction. His court-appointed counsel filed an amended PCR petition and a second amended petition asserting the following contentions.

First, defendant alleged that he told his trial counsel that he was in "great pain" and was deprived of medical care at the time he made a statement to the police. He argued that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request a Miranda*fn2

hearing to challenge the admissibility of the statement, and in failing to reserve that issue for appeal as part of the plea agreement. However, defendant did not submit an affidavit or other legally competent evidence that he actually provided his counsel with the statement, and he did not explain how suppressing the statement would have changed the result of his case. There appears no dispute on this record that he stabbed the victim in front of at least two eyewitnesses.

He also contended that his counsel should have asserted that "the witness and his friend fought with Petitioner and that the injury was unintentional while fighting for the knife." He further asserted that his attorney should have interviewed a potential witness named Bobby Williams, "a man who told Petitioner's mother that the incident was a set-up." However, petitioner did not submit either a certification from his mother or a certification from Williams.

Defendant further argued that his attorney should have argued for a lower sentence and should have presented witnesses and other evidence ...


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