NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: November 14, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County, Indictment No. 04-01-0037.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Steven M. Gilson, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Camelia M. Valdes, Passaic County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Keith E. Hoffman, Senior Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).
Appellant filed a pro se supplemental brief.
Before Judges Fasciale and Haas.
Defendant Hamid Abdul-Shabazz appeals from the January 17, 2012 Law Division order, which denied his motion for a new trial and his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) following an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.
Following a trial, a jury convicted defendant of first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; third-degree aggravated assault (as a lesser-included offense of attempted murder), N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(7); fourth-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4); second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4; and second-degree certain persons not to have weapons, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7. At sentencing, the judge merged various counts and imposed an aggregate eighteen-year term, subject to NERA, with a five-year period of parole supervision upon release. The jury also found the co-defendant, Anthony Cantey, guilty of second-degree robbery and hindering apprehension.
Defendant appealed his convictions and sentence and we affirmed in an unpublished opinion. State v. Abdul-Shabazz, No. A-0305-06 (App. Div. February 29, 2008). The Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for certification. State v. Abdul-Shabazz, 195 N.J. 523 (2008).
We begin by referencing the essential background facts as set forth in our earlier opinion. On May 3, 2003, the victim, Joseph Robinson left his home to go to Passaic County Community College, where he was enrolled as a student. State v. Abdul-Shabazz, supra, slip op. at 3. On the way to school, Robinson was accosted by two men, who he later identified as defendant and Cantey. Ibid. Cantey hit Robinson in the shoulder and "[a] struggle ensued." Ibid. Defendant and Cantey slapped Robinson and "tried to pull things from his pockets and take his backpack. Robinson tried to run, but defendant caught him and struck him in the face. Cantey then left; after which defendant pointed a handgun at Robinson, threatened him, laughed, and then left." Ibid.
Later that month, Robinson saw Cantey on the street and called the police, who arrested him. Id. at 3-4. In early June, Robinson saw defendant on the street and saw him enter a residence. Id. at 4. Robinson called the police, who entered the building and brought defendant outside, "where Robinson made a positive identification of defendant as one of his two attackers." Ibid.
On August 13, 2008, defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a petition for PCR. In support of his applications, defendant presented a certification from Cantey, who alleged defendant had not been involved in the robbery. He also submitted a certification from a friend named Anthony Allen. Allen alleged that, "sometime between the year 2004 and 2005, " he drove Robinson and his mother to defendant's trial attorney's office because Robinson wanted to tell the attorney "he made a mistake when he identified [defendant] as a person that robbed him." Allen asserted that, after the group arrived at the office, the attorney refused to speak to them and they then returned home. Defendant's cousin, Craig Dooley, submitted a certification in which he stated he answered the door at ...