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State of New Jersey v. Ronald Crandell

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


April 25, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RONALD CRANDELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment Nos. 02-02-0395; 02-04-0905; 02-07-1574.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 21, 2011

Before Judges Waugh and St. John.

Defendant Ronald Crandell appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm, essentially for the reasons set forth in Judge Kevin G. Callahan's written opinion.

Defendant pled guilty to: third-degree aggravated assault upon a police officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5)(a); third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute while within 500 feet of public property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1; third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1); and third-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. On October 11, 2002, he was sentenced to a four-year state prison term.

Defendant did not file a PCR petition until September 2, 2009. In his petition, defendant alleges he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to investigate the injuries of the arresting police officers and failed to provide him with copies of discovery materials. He also contends that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Judge Callahan denied defendant's petition along with an extensive written statement of reasons.

On appeal, defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I

DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF WAS NOT TIME BARRED BY R. 3:22-12.

POINT II

DEFENDANT HAS PRESENTED A PRIMA FACIE CLAIM THAT HE WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.

We are not persuaded by either argument and affirm. We agree that defendant failed to set forth a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of counsel pursuant to the standard established in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984), and adopted by our Supreme Court in State v. Fritz, 105 N.J. 42 (1987), and that, as a result, no evidentiary hearing was required. See State v. Preciose, 129 N.J. 451, 462-63 (1992).

In any event, defendant's petition is time-barred. Rule 3:22-12(a) provides, in pertinent part: no petition shall be filed pursuant to this rule more than 5 years after the date of entry . . . of the judgment of conviction that is being challenged unless it alleges facts showing that the delay beyond said time was due to defendant's excusable neglect and that there is a reasonable probability that if the defendant's factual assertions were found to be true enforcement of the time bar would result in a fundamental injustice.

To be entitled to a relaxation of the Rule based upon excusable neglect, a petitioner must allege "facts demonstrating that the delay was due to [his] excusable neglect" and, "[i]f the petitioner does not allege sufficient facts, the Rule bars the claim." State v. Mitchell, 126 N.J. 565, 576 (1992).

Because defendant did not present any sufficient facts to explain his delay, he is not entitled to a relaxation of the Rule and his petition is appropriately time-barred.

Affirmed.

20120425

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