July 24, 2012
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
MICHAEL A. HALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Indictment No. 09-06-0524.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 3, 2012
Before Judges Payne and Messano.
Defendant, Michael A. Hall, was indicted on June 24, 2009 in Gloucester County, pursuant to indictment 09-06-0524, on charges of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a(1) (counts one and five), second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (counts two and six), second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b (counts three and seven), and pointing a weapon at another, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4) (counts four and eight). He was indicted on August 12, 2009 in Gloucester County, pursuant to indictment 09-08-0661, on charges of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one), third-degree restraint with risk of serious bodily injury, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2a (count two), second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (count three), second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b (count four), second degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and 2C:15-1a(1) (count five), and second-degree possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7b (count six).
Defendant moved for dismissal of the indictments claiming a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), N.J.S.A. 2A:159A-1 to -15 as the result of Gloucester County's failure to bring him to trial within the 180-day period provided by the IAD. See N.J.S.A. 2A:159-3(a). A hearing was held on defendant's motion on August 16 and September 24, 2010, and relief was denied. On November 5, 2010, defendant pled guilty on indictment 09-06-0524 to two counts of first-degree robbery.
He was sentenced on January 4, 2011 to concurrent terms of incarceration of ten years, subject to an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. The sentences were to run concurrently with sentences imposed in Camden and Burlington Counties and in Pennsylvania. Pursuant to the plea agreement, indictment 08-05-0512 was dismissed.
Defendant has appealed, raising the following arguments for our consideration:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE GLOUCESTER COUNTY INDICTMENTS WERE NOT SUBJECT TO THE INTERSTATE AGREEMENT ON DETAINERS.
THE STATE CANNOT BENEFIT FROM ITS FAILURE TO LODGE A DETAINER ON MR. HALL FOR THE GLOUCESTER COUNTY COMPLAINTS AFTER BURLINGTON COUNTY AND CAMDEN COUNTY DETAINERS WERE LODGED ON MR. HALL PREVENTING MR. HALL FROM INVOKING THE IAD AS TO THE GLOUCESTER COUNTY COMPLAINTS. (Not Raised Below.)
Following indictment in Burlington County on charges of robbery on March 10, 2008 on indictment 08-04-0457 and on March 13, 2008 on indictment 08-05-0512, Burlington County lodged detainers with the State of Pennsylvania, where defendant was in custody on a three and one-half year to seven-year sentence on weapons charges. Notice of the detainers was provided to defendant pursuant to the IAD on April 10, 2009. The IAD notice served on defendant listed the two pending Burlington County indictments, advised defendant of his right to request a final disposition of the charges, and further provided:
Your request for final disposition will operate as a request for final disposition of all untried indictments, information or complaints on the basis of which detainers have been lodged against you from the state to whose prosecuting official your request for final disposition is specifically directed.
Upon receipt of notice, defendant waived extradition and requested disposition of the Burlington County charges. Notably, at the time defendant made his request for disposition, neither of the Gloucester County indictments had been handed down, and detainers had not been filed by the County in Pennsylvania. However, the complaints underlying the indictments had both been issued by the police on March 6, 2008.
On April 23, 2009, the Burlington County Prosecutor agreed to accept temporary custody of defendant, and on May 21, 2009, he was transported to New Jersey for disposition of the Burlington County charges that had been the subject of the detainer.
Defendant concedes that, while in Pennsylvania, a detainer was also lodged against him by Camden County. The record reflects that on June 1, 2009, defendant was "borrowed" from Burlington County by the Prosecutor of Camden County. However, he appears to have been returned, because on August 31, 2009, defendant pled guilty in Burlington County to a charge of obstruction of the administration of justice. The two indictments pending against him in Burlington County were dismissed on October 2, 2009.
Thereafter, on October 14, 2009, defendant was again transferred to Camden County where, on March 19, 2010, he entered a plea to pending charges of first-degree robbery, and he was sentenced on April 16, 2010 to five years in custody, subject to NERA. Defendant does not contend that disposition of either the Burlington County or Camden County charges was untimely.
On April 23, 2010, defendant was transferred to Gloucester County for disposition of the charges that are the subject of this appeal. As stated, they were resolved by a plea on November 5, 2010.
The IAD provides, in N.J.S.A. 2A:159A-3(a) that, when a defendant incarcerated in one jurisdiction has charges pending against him in another jurisdiction as to which a detainer has been lodged, he can request disposition of the pending charges in the other jurisdiction, which then must be resolved within 180 days after he has been delivered to the prosecuting authorities in the other, receiving, jurisdiction. The IAD further provides, in N.J.S.A. 2A:159A-3(d) that "[a]ny request for final disposition made by a prisoner pursuant to paragraph
(a) hereof shall operate as a request for final disposition of all untried indictments, informations or complaints on the basis of which detainers have been lodged against the prisoner from the State to whose prosecuting official the request for final disposition is specifically directed."
Defendant acknowledges that, at the time his custody was transferred from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, no indictments had been handed down against him in Gloucester County, and that County had not lodged any detainers against him in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, he claims that because complaints arising from his criminal conduct had been filed by the police, the IAD was applicable to him and that it was violated when charges against him were not timely resolved in Gloucester County.
We reject defendant's position. The plain language of the statute compels the conclusion that defendant was entitled to and did request disposition only of those charges that were the subject of detainers at the time that his request was made, and that the time limits of the statute applied only in such circumstances. The Supreme Court and we have held that the IAD, by its very terms, applies only when a detainer has been lodged against a prisoner. State v. Baker, 400 N.J. Super. 28, 40 (App. Div. 2008), aff'd, 198 N.J. 189 (2009); State v. Burnett, 351 N.J. Super. 222, 226 (App. Div. 2002). Nothing suggests any obligation on the part of Gloucester County to file a detainer against defendant while he remained unindicted. As a consequence, we find the IAD to be inapplicable to these charges.
We find defendant's additional arguments of insufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
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