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State of New Jersey v. Carlos Gonzalez

December 6, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CARLOS GONZALEZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 91-18-1985.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 7, 2012 -

Before Judges Yannotti, Harris and Hoffman.

Defendant Carlos Gonzalez a/k/a Hugo Velez appeals from a November 17, 2010 Law Division order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

On October 9, 1990, defendant escaped from the New Jersey Training School for Boys, where he was serving a juvenile disposition under the name Carlos Gonzalez. The Juvenile Justice Commission listed defendant's birth date as July 21, 1972. Defendant's actual birth date is January 3, 1967.

On May 4, 1991, defendant stabbed Jose Garcia in the stomach. An eyewitness reported to the police that Carlos Gonzalez, also known as Hugo Velez, was the assailant. The Camden County Prosecutor's Office (CCPO) investigated the incident and learned from defendant's employer that he presented a social security card with the name "Hugo R. Velez Martin" when he applied for a job. CCPO also learned that he received municipal welfare under the name Hugo Velez.

On August 14, 1991, a Camden County grand jury indicted defendant for second-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1) (count one); third-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(2) (count two); third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count three); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) (count four); and two counts of terroristic threats, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(a) (counts five and six).

When defendant failed to appear at two pretrial proceedings for the indictment, the court issued bench warrants for his arrest. CCPO attempted to locate defendant using both names - Carlos Gonzalez and Hugo Velez - without success.

On July 5, 1993, defendant was apprehended and later placed into custody at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. The facility released him in May 1995. At the time, the Juvenile Justice Commission did not have defendant's social security number on file.

In 1996, a Camden County grand jury indicted defendant on charges related to a sexual assault. A witness identified him by a photograph taken in connection with a previous arrest. CCPO did not realize defendant was the same person as the suspect in the 1991 stabbing case.

The same year, authorities in Puerto Rico informed CCPO that they had the suspect in the sexual assault case in custody in Puerto Rico on robbery charges. No further communication occurred between CCPO and authorities in Puerto Rico until 2005, when the fugitive unit learned defendant was serving a prison sentence in Puerto Rico. Subsequently, CCPO filed a detainer based on the sexual assault charges, resulting in defendant's return to New Jersey on a governor's warrant. N.J.S.A. 2A:160-6 to -35.

After defendant's return to New Jersey, CCPO realized that defendant was the suspect in both the sexual assault case and the stabbing case. The CCPO attributed the delay in this realization to defendant's use of a false name, false social security number, and a false birth date at the time of the stabbing in 1991.

The trial relating to the charges stemming from the stabbing incident began on February 28, 2007. Before the trial started, the State dismissed counts five and six due to its inability to prosecute because of the passage of time. Defendant's attorney then moved orally to dismiss the remaining counts of the indictment, claiming violation of defendant's right to a speedy trial. The trial judge denied the ...


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