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State of New Jersey v. Lester S. Barney

April 27, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LESTER S. BARNEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 04-01-0077.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 16, 2012

Before Judges Parrillo, Grall and Skillman.

Defendant was found guilty by a jury of the purposeful or knowing murder of his wife, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 3a(1), (2); and second-degree interference with his wife's custody of their child, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-4a(4). The trial court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment, with the 85% period of parole ineligibility mandated by the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, for the murder, and a consecutive four-year term for interference with custody. We affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence in an unreported opinion, State v. Barney, No. A-2397-05 (Oct. 18, 2007), and the Supreme Court denied his petition for certification, 194 N.J. 273 (2008).

Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief based primarily on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. After hearing argument by counsel, the trial court issued a comprehensive letter opinion denying the petition. On appeal from the order memorializing that denial, the Public Defender presents the following arguments on defendant's behalf:

POINT ONE:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AFFORDING HIM AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO DETERMINE WHETHER TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE.

A. THE PREVAILING LEGAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING CLAIMS OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS AND PETITIONS FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF.

B. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE FOR FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE COURT'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE A PROPER READBACK TO THE JURY.

C. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE FOR FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE STATE'S SUMMATION.

D. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE FOR FAILING TO OBTAIN A BLOOD SPATTER EXPERT.

E. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE FOR FAILING TO REQUEST A RULE 104 HEARING AS TO THE ADMISS[I]BILITY OF CERTAIN EVIDENCE REGARDING DEFENDANT'S SUICIDE ATTEMPT.

F. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE FOR FAILING TO REQUEST A RULE 104 HEARING AS TO THE ADMISS[I]BILITY OF CERTAIN EVIDENCE REGARDING DEFENDANT'S ...


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