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State v. Corwin

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 23, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAVID CORWIN, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 4, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Municipal Appeal No. 6004.

David Corwin, appellant pro se.

Theodore J. Mankowski, Union County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Meghan V. Tomlinson, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Ashrafi and Espinosa.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant David Corwin appeals from denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), by which he sought to set aside his conviction on a petty disorderly persons charge of harassment, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(b). We affirm.

Defendant is a psychiatrist. In the fall of 2005, a woman was referred to him by an insurance company for the purpose of an independent medical examination because she claimed psychological disability resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Defendant conducted the examination in his office in Elizabeth on September 27, 2005. A few weeks later, the woman went to the police and alleged that defendant had sexually assaulted her during the examination. An Elizabeth police detective investigated the matter and issued a report. The Union County Prosecutor's Office declined to bring charges against defendant in the Superior Court, and the matter was referred to the municipal court. In January 2006, the woman filed a harassment complaint against defendant.

The matter was tried in the Elizabeth Municipal Court on two dates, May 8, 2007, and January 9, 2008. Defendant was represented by counsel, and a municipal prosecutor was assigned to present the State's case. The witnesses were the accuser, defendant, and a representative of the insurance company. On March 3, 2008, the judge of the municipal court found defendant guilty of harassment by offensive touching, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(b). The municipal judge sentenced defendant to thirty days in jail, sixty days of community service, and a fine of $500.

Defendant appealed his conviction to the Superior Court, Law Division, pursuant to Rule 3:23. The Law Division conducted a trial de novo and also found defendant guilty of the harassment charge. On August 29, 2008, the Law Division imposed the same sentence of community service and fine but did not impose a jail sentence. On direct appeal, we affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence. State v. Corwin, Docket No. A-0206-08 (App. Div. January 6, 2010).

Defendant then filed a PCR petition in the Elizabeth Municipal Court alleging that the State had deprived him of a fair trial because it failed to provide discovery of certain reports and statements that would have aided his defense by calling into question the accuser's credibility. The municipal court denied the PCR petition on June 1, 2011. Defendant appealed again to the Law Division, and he raised for the first time a claim that his trial attorney had been ineffective in representing him at the municipal court trial. On de novo review, the same judge who had conducted his de novo trial in 2008 denied PCR by oral decision and order dated October 28, 2011. Defendant then filed the current appeal in this court.

In a lengthy pro se brief, ...


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