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State of New Jersey v. Qawi L. Crawley

December 19, 2012

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
QAWI L. CRAWLEY, A/K/A SALEEM T. CRAWLEY, JAMES THOMPSON AND JASON WATSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 01-06-2809.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 17, 2012 -

Before Judges Grall and Koblitz.

Defendant Qawi L. Crawley appeals from his August 23, 2006 judgment of conviction after being tried in absentia*fn1 in 2002 and convicted of two counts of armed robbery and other related charges. On appeal, defendant argues that his attorney at trial was ineffective because he did not request a Wade*fn2 hearing. He also appeals his sentence. After reviewing his contentions in light of the facts and the law, we affirm.

He was charged under Indictment No. 01-06-2809 with: three counts of fourth-degree aggravated assault with a firearm, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(4) (counts one, four and seven); three counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (counts two, five and eight); three counts of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (counts three, six and nine); third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5) (count ten); third-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b) (count eleven); and third-degree resisting arrest, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 (count twelve). He was also charged under Indictment No. 01-06-2810 with second-degree certain persons not to have weapons, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7(b).

Defendant was convicted of two counts of fourth-degree aggravated assault with a firearm, two counts of first-degree robbery, third-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, a lesser included disorderly persons offense of resisting arrest, and second-degree certain persons not to have weapons. He was acquitted of one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault with a firearm, one count of first-degree robbery, and one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. His charge of third-degree aggravated assault was dismissed by the State and two counts of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose were merged into the other convictions by the judge at sentencing. He was sentenced in 2006 to an aggregate prison term of thirty years with an eighty-five percent parole disqualifier pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA). N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

The trial testimony reveals the following facts. Hasan Finney and Donzell Smalls drove to the Redwood Lounge in Orange in Smalls' red Ford Expedition in the early morning hours of March 10, 2001. Kevin Davis and Jasmine Ordenze left the Redwood Lounge to call a taxi from a payphone. A masked man approached and pointed a gun at Davis and Ordenze, ordering the two to walk over to the front of Smalls' parked Ford Expedition. The robber took a cell phone, pager, neck chain and a five- dollar bill from Davis. The robber ordered Ordenze to empty her purse onto the hood of the Expedition. As she did, Finney and Smalls left the lounge and walked towards the car.

Smalls set off the car alarm briefly, which startled the robber, causing him to turn his attention to the two approaching men. Ordenze and Davis then ran back to the lounge.

The robber then placed the gun against Finney's back and took his wallet and sixty dollars in cash. Upon seeing Davis and Ordenze re-enter the lounge, the robber fled towards the "Orange Projects" housing development. Finney and Smalls jumped into the Expedition and followed him. The robber turned with his mask off and aimed the gun at the Expedition. Finney called 911 from his cell phone, exited the Expedition and chased the robber on foot. He flagged down Orange Police Sergeant Vincent Vitiello, who drove after the robber and then joined the foot chase carrying his shotgun. Other police units arrived on the scene.

Defendant was cornered by the police officers in a courtyard, holding a gun, which he repeatedly moved between his hands. He then dropped the gun and went down on the ground. He struggled with a police officer and attempted to bite the officer. The police "maced" defendant to subdue him and he was then arrested.

A fully-loaded semi-automatic handgun was found on the ground, and a black ski mask and the stolen objects were found on defendant's person.

Ordenze and Davis were brought to police headquarters where they identified defendant through a one-way mirror. In court, Davis ...


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