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State of New Jersey v. Thomas Kelly

July 23, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
THOMAS KELLY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 93-04-0046.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 30, 2012

Before Judges Messano and Kennedy.

Defendant Thomas Kelly appeals from the denial of his second petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We glean the prior procedural history from Judge Raymond A. Reddin's written opinion.*fn1

Defendant was convicted after trial of various crimes, including multiple counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and second-degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(b) or -

2. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of forty-six years imprisonment with a sixteen-year period of parole ineligibility.

We affirmed his conviction. Defendant filed a PCR petition which was denied on October 20, 2004, and we affirmed that decision on January 31, 2007.

On December 7, 2009, defendant filed a pro se letter brief in support of his "motion for leave to file a successive PCR." In a single point heading, defendant argued:

BECAUSE THE EXISTING RECORD PROVES CUMULATIVE ERROR[S] VIOLATED PETITIONER'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND HAD THE CAPACITY TO HAVE IMPACTED THE OUTCOME, RELAXATION OF PROCEDURAL BARS AND REVERSAL ARE WARRANTED

Defendant contended that counsel at all levels provided ineffective assistance.

Trial counsel neglected to properly respond to other-crimes prejudice, confrontation violations, and additional record-proven issues . . ., and direct [appeal] counsel neglected to raise both preserved and plain-error issues that were ripe for direct review. PCR counsel neglected to fully cite how trial and appellate counsel were ineffective . . ., and counsel on appeal of the denial of PCR neglected to cite any of the issues raised below.

Defendant requested "relaxation of the procedural bars, appointment of counsel, and reversal of the conviction." He also sought, "[a]lternatively," "permi[ssion] to amend these filings beyond this good-cause letter brief."

In his written decision, Judge Reddin noted that "[i]n order to bring a subsequent PCR[,] a petitioner must allege one of . . . three grounds ...


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