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State of New Jersey v. Kerman Coleman

December 14, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KERMAN COLEMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Indictment No. 05-10-1402.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 3, 2012

Before Judges Grall and Accurso.

Defendant Kerman Coleman appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), contending that he established a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel requiring an evidentiary hearing. Because the trial judge correctly determined the evidence insufficient to sustain defendant's burden on the petition, we affirm.

A jury convicted defendant of first-degree robbery in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)1, third-degree theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a, third-degree receiving stolen property in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7a, two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5), and third-degree resisting arrest in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a(2) and a(3)(a). He was sentenced to an aggregate term of nineteen years with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility, and five years of parole supervision. We affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence on direct appeal, State v. Coleman, No. A-2099-06 (App. Div. Oct. 23, 2008), and the Supreme Court denied certification, 197 N.J. 476 (2009).

Defendant's arrest and conviction arose out of his efforts to steal a car from the parking lot of a restaurant with the help of two colleagues. A police officer was dispatched to the scene to respond to an auto theft in progress. When the officer arrived in a marked police vehicle, he saw a Lexus emerge from the rear of the parking lot. We described the unfolding events in our opinion on defendant's direct appeal.

The Lexus stopped briefly, turned its headlights off, and then accelerated toward [the officer's] vehicle at a speed of approximately 30 miles per hour, striking the patrol vehicle on the front driver's side. After hitting two other parked vehicles, the Lexus stopped. Due to the impact, the left side of [the] patrol vehicle was crushed, pinning [the officer] in the vehicle and bruising his ribs and left shoulder. . . .

As [the officer] struggled to get out of his patrol vehicle, he shouted commands at defendant to stop and freeze. When [the officer] was finally able to force open the door of his patrol vehicle, defendant climbed out the window of the Lexus and attempted to flee. [The officer] was able to grab the back of defendant's shirt, but after a brief struggle, defendant broke free.

As defendant and [co-defendant] Daniels ran toward Roosevelt Avenue, an Infiniti operated by [another] co-defendant [ ] drove past [the officer's] patrol vehicle and exited the parking lot onto Roosevelt Avenue in the direction of defendant and Daniels. As [their co-defendant] drove by in the Infiniti, the two dove head first into the vehicle through the passenger window. As the Infiniti sped off, defendant and Daniels were partially hanging out of the vehicle.

The Infiniti then accelerated, traveling at a speed of thirty to thirty-five miles per hour toward [another officer's] vehicle. Like [the first officer, the second officer] arrived at the scene after hearing the police dispatch. [The second officer] testified that he attempted to avoid a collision with the Infiniti, but the Infiniti struck his right front bumper. The impact caused [the second officer] to sustain a separated shoulder and torn ligaments. The Infiniti kept driving and disappeared into a parking lot behind some businesses. [Coleman, supra, slip op. at 3-5.]

Following an extended foot chase by officers from several surrounding communities, defendant was apprehended along with his two co-defendants.

In his amended petition for PCR, defendant claimed that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately investigate the collision of the Lexus with the patrol car and for not retaining an expert witness to testify about the accident. Defendant also claimed his appellate counsel was ineffective because he failed to raise an issue regarding the verdict sheet and the prosecutor's ...


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