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State of New Jersey v. Anthony Balaam

September 24, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANTHONY BALAAM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Indictment No. 97-08-0973.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 12, 2012

Before Judges Koblitz and Lisa.

Defendant Anthony Balaam appeals from the June 25, 2010 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. Defendant was convicted of fifteen crimes including the knowing or purposeful murders,

N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1) and (2), and aggravated sexual assaults, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a), of four prostitutes in the Trenton area between 1994 and 1996. He was spared the death penalty by the jury and, on January 26, 2001, was sentenced to four consecutive life terms, each with thirty years of parole ineligibility. We affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence on direct appeal in an unpublished opinion. State v. Balaam, No. A-3688-00 (App. Div. May 16, 2003), certif. denied, 177 N.J. 496 (2003). In his PCR appeal, defendant argues that his trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

On November 29, 2006, ten months beyond the five-year time period permitted by Rule 3:22-12(a), defendant filed a PCR petition, indicating that on June 26, 2003, he wrote the Office of the Public Defender seeking to file a petition in the event the New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification. He also certified in his petition that on August 12, 2005, he again wrote the Office of the Public Defender seeking to file a PCR petition. Defendant supplied copies of these handwritten letters, the second of which was notarized on August 22, 2005.

The PCR judge determined that defendant did not demonstrate excusable neglect and denied PCR on that basis. However, he also reviewed each contention raised by defendant and denied relief based on the substantive claims.

On appeal defendant raises the following issues:

POINT I: DEFENDANT'S PCR PETITION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TIME-BARRED.

POINT II: DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS MUST BE REVERSED DUE TO COUNSELS' INEFFECTIVENESS; IN THE ALTERNATIVE, THIS MATTER MUST BE REMANDED FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING BECAUSE DEFENDANT ESTABLISHED A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF COUNSELS' INEFFECTIVENESS.

A. TRIAL AND APPELLATE COUNSEL FAILED TO RAISE THAT DEFENDANT'S INVOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS VIOLATED THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. (Partially Raised Below)

B. TRIAL AND APPELLATE COUNSEL FAILED TO RAISE THAT DEFENDANT APPEARED BEFORE PROSPECTIVE JURORS IN RESTRAINTS.

C. TRIAL AND APPELLATE COUNSEL FAILED TO RAISE THE ADMISSION OF OTHER-CRIMES OR "WRONGS" EVIDENCE, AND THE OMISSION OF ...


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