NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 15, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment Nos. 00-06-1149 and 00-06-1713.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Philip Lago, Designated Counsel, on the briefs).
Carolyn A. Murray, Acting Essex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Brian Pollock, Special Deputy Attorney General/ Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Lihotz and Ostrer.
Defendant Jihad Sharrieff appeals from the denial of his petition seeking post-conviction relief (PCR). Following a jury trial on consolidated indictments, defendant was convicted of two counts of armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1; third-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. The jury deadlocked on the remaining charges, and upon retrial, defendant was found guilty of purposeful or knowing murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) or N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(2); third-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b; and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. The State dismissed or defendant was acquitted of all remaining charges. On October 12, 2001, after the merger of the weapons convictions, the judge imposed a life sentence for the murder conviction, subject to a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility, along with consecutive twenty-year terms of imprisonment for the armed robberies, subject to the parole ineligibility and post-release supervision periods mandated by the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.
On appeal, we affirmed defendant's convictions and the terms of his sentences, but remanded to correct merger errors and amend the judgment of conviction. State v. Sharrif, No. A- 2956-01 (App. Div. Apr. 8, 2004) (slip op. at 31-32), certif. denied, 182 N.J. 629 (2005).
Defendant pursued federal appeals, and resentencing was ordered for the armed robbery convictions. Sharrieff v. Cathel, 574 F.3d 225, 230 (3d Cir. 2009), cert. denied, Sharrieff v. Ricci, 558 U.S. 1120, 130 S.Ct. 1064, 175 L.Ed.2d 897 (2010). On resentencing, the judge imposed two concurrent fifteen-year terms subject to NERA. Thus, defendant's aggregate sentence was life plus fifteen years, with forty-two years and nine months of parole ineligibility.
Defendant's first PCR petition was filed on March 18, 2010, and denied as procedurally barred. Further, his request for an evidentiary hearing was deemed to be without merit. This appeal ensued. On appeal, defendant presents the following issues for our review:
THE LOWER COURT ORDER MUST BE REVERSED SINCE DEFENDANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL.
A. Trial counsel was ineffective during plea negotiations.
B. Trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object or request a curative instruction when a State's witness violated State v. Bankston [, 63 N.J. 263 (1973)].
C. Trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to hearsay testimony from which it could be inferred that ...