On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Accusation No. 1123-02.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 25, 2012
Before Judges Lihotz and Ostrer.
Defendant J.S. appeals from an order denying his second petition seeking post-conviction relief (PCR) based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) stemming from his attorney's alleged failure to adequately inform him of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea.
The trial court concluded defendant's claims were time barred, procedurally barred, and otherwise lacking sufficient merit to warrant further consideration in an evidentiary hearing. On appeal defendant argues:
THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S PETITION FOR POST[-]CONVICTION RELIEF.
A. THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN FINDING THAT REVIEW OF APPELLANT'S PETITION WAS BARRED BY HIS PRIOR POST-CONVICTION APPLICATION.
B. THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN FINDING THAT APPELLANT'S PETITION WAS BARRED AS OUT OF TIME.
C. THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN FINDING THAT DEFENDANT WAS NOT DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF THE SIXTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE ONE, PARAGRAPH SEVEN OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION.
Defendant is a Jamaican national who was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 1998. On May 16, 2002, defendant pled guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a, pursuant to the terms of a negotiated plea agreement.
During the plea hearing, there was no specific discussion regarding defendant's immigration status. However, defendant circled "YES" in response to Question 17 of the plea form, which asked: "Do you understand that if you are not a United States Citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty?"
Prior to accepting defendant's guilty plea, the trial judge questioned him extensively:
THE COURT: Are all of the statements set out . . . on the [plea] form true?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir. . . . .
THE COURT: Are all of the statements on that form accurate and correct?
THE COURT: You also understand that by pleading guilty, you are admitting to the truth of ...