On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 01-03-1208.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges A. A. Rodriguez and Reisner.
In these two appeals, which we have consolidated for purposes of this opinion, defendants Anthony Mangan and Jurisha Boone appeal, respectively, from trial court orders dated June 14, 2010 and June 23, 2010, denying each defendant's petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.
Both defendants were arrested and charged with the armed kidnapping,
rape and robbery of victims in two separate incidents, one in East
Orange and the other in Glen Ridge. Both incidents involved sadistic
abuse of the victims, including, in one incident, requiring the rape
victim's male companion to watch as she was raped and then forcing him
to perform sexual acts with her while the assailants watched. In the
other incident, the two female victims were forced to perform sexual
acts on each other as well as on defendants. In both incidents, the
victims were forced to flee, naked, from the scene.*fn1
Against that background, we consider each defendant's
appellate contentions separately, beginning with Mangan's appeal.
Following a very thorough plea colloquy conducted by Judge Richard C. Camp, Mangan pled guilty on December 13, 2002 to the following crimes: two counts of second-degree conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2; three counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; three counts of first-degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1b; and three counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(4), in return for a promised maximum sentence of thirty-five years in prison subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A 2C:43-7.2. During the plea hearing, defendant admitted his own guilt and implicated his co-defendant Boone.
An evaluation at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) found that Mangan was not a repetitive and compulsive sex offender, and thus he received an ordinary State prison term. On May 3, 2003, Mangan was initially sentenced to an aggregate term of thirty-two years subject to NERA, but on September 21, 2005, we remanded for re-sentencing pursuant to State v. Natale, 184 N.J. 458 (2005). On November 4, 2005, Judge John C. Kennedy reconsidered and imposed the same sentence. On defendant's direct appeal on an Excessive Sentence Oral Argument (ESOA) calendar, we affirmed the 2005 sentence, rejecting his claim that the thirty-two year term was unfairly disproportionate to the thirty-year term imposed on co-defendant Boone.
Mangan next filed a PCR petition, asserting that the attorney who represented him at the 2005 re-sentencing did not adequately present mitigating factors to Judge Kennedy. In particular, he contended that his limited intelligence and limited educational background were not presented to the court. However, he emphasized that he only sought a reconsideration and reduction in his sentence and specifically eschewed any desire to withdraw his guilty plea.
In a thorough oral opinion, placed on the record on June 14, 2010, Judge Rachel N. Davidson rejected defendant's PCR contentions. She considered that defendant was charged in a forty-four count indictment and, if convicted on all counts, faced "numerous lifetime sentences." She also considered that a psychological examination performed prior to the plea agreement revealed that defendant was feigning mental illness and that, due to his lack of cooperation on the tests, his intelligence test results were also unreliable. She further noted that defense counsel had presented the sentencing court with information about defendant's educational limitations, which the sentencing judge acknowledged. She found no evidence that defense counsel was ineffective, applying the standards set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 694, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 2068, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674, 698 (1984).
Judge Davidson further found that defendant presented no legally competent evidence demonstrating his alleged low level of intelligence, and she quoted a report from his ADTC evaluation that "'his actions in the present offense were not influenced by mental deficiency.'" The judge also found that information about his intelligence level, even if considered, would not have affected the ...