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State of New Jersey v. Shariff Muhammad

November 20, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
SHARIFF MUHAMMAD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 08-12-3590.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 22, 2012

Before Judges Sabatino and Fasciale.

Defendant appeals from a February 9, 2011 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). Defendant contends that his plea counsel failed to pursue and inform him about the defense of self-defense. Defendant argues that had he known about the defense, he would not have pled guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1).*fn1 Defendant maintains that the factual basis of his plea is therefore inadequate because he had a reasonable belief that force was necessary to protect himself. We remand for an evidentiary hearing.

Defendant and the victim argued over money owed to the victim for the sale of drugs. At a June 2009 plea hearing, defendant testified as follows:

Q: [W]hat happened as a result of that argument?

A: [The victim] lunged at me and I stabbed him.

Q: [H]ow many times did you stab him?

A: I think two or three times.

Q: Do you know what area of his body you stabbed him in?

A: I'm not even sure[] because I was just trying to stop him.

Q: You could've left the area and not even had the argument with [the victim] if you ...


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