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State of New Jersey v. Jose Sanchez

July 6, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSE SANCHEZ, A/K/A FELIX SANTIAGO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment Nos. 01-04-0532 and 02-02-0278.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 11, 2012

Before Judges Graves and Harris.

Defendant Jose Sanchez, who is also known as FeliX Santiago, appeals from an order entered on March 26, 2010, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). Defendant presents the following arguments on appeal:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY REFUSING TO AFFORD DEFENDANT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING AND BY DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF.

POINT II

DEFENDANT'S TRIAL COUNSEL PROVIDED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE TO DEFENDANT.

We conclude from our review of the record and the applicable law that these arguments are clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Robert J. Mega in his written decision on March 26, 2010, with only the following comments.

On July 15, 2002, defendant pled guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter (count one of Indictment No. 02-02-0278, as amended) and third-degree aggravated assault (count five of the same indictment). Defendant also pled guilty to third- degree theft (count four of Indictment No. 01-04-5321) and second-degree aggravated assault (count six of the same indictment). In exchange for the guilty pleas, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts in both indictments and to recommend an aggregate eighteen-year sentence subject to an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

At his plea hearing, defendant confirmed he could read and write; he had enough time to discuss all of the issues with his attorney; he was satisfied with legal services provided by his attorney; and he entered into the plea agreement freely and voluntarily. Defendant also confirmed he read and understood the plea forms and answered all of the questions on the plea forms truthfully. On the plea forms, one of the questions asked if defendant was "satisfied with the advice [he] received from [his] lawyer," and defendant answered "Yes."

Defendant also provided a factual basis for his pleas and, when questioned by the court regarding his sentence for aggravated manslaughter, defendant testified as follows:

Q. In the murder case, or aggravated manslaughter case . . . the recommendation is 18 years ...


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