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State v. Pierre

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 4, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DUQUENE PIERRE, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 16, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 94-07-0789.

Paul Casteleiro argued the cause for appellant.

Meredith L. Balo, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Theodore J. Romankow, Union County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Balo, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Fisher, Waugh and Leone.

PER CURIAM

This is now the fourth time this matter has come before us. Following the third appeal, we remanded for an additional evidentiary hearing regarding defendant's claim that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because of counsel's failure to present evidence to support an alibi regarding defendant's whereabouts both shortly before and not long after the murder of Richard J. Myers in Elizabeth at 3:19 a.m. on March 20, 1994. We now affirm.

In 1996, defendant was tried and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, and other offenses, and sentenced to an aggregate sixty-year prison term subject to a thirty-five-year parole disqualifier. Defendant filed a direct appeal. We affirmed, State v. Pierre, No. A-6355-95 (App. Div. Aug. 19, 1999), and the Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for certification, 162 N.J. 488 (1999).

Defendant filed a post-conviction relief (PCR) petition in 2000. Following an evidentiary hearing, the PCR petition was denied. Defendant appealed and we affirmed. State v. Pierre, No. A-6519-03 (App. Div. July 18, 2006). The Supreme Court granted defendant's petition for certification and summarily remanded to the trial court "for an evidentiary hearing to permit defendant to present alibi-related witnesses." State v. Pierre, 189 N.J. 102 (2006). An evidentiary hearing took place on July 20, 2007, and relief was denied by order entered on July 23, 2007.

Defendant appealed again, and we remanded to allow defendant to further develop his alibi evidence. State v. Pierre, No. A-0410-07 (App. Div. June 19, 2009). Defendant presented additional alibi witnesses at the hearing that occurred on May 20 and 27, 2011. On October 4, 2011, the PCR judge issued a written opinion explaining the reasons for his denial of relief.

Defendant again appeals, arguing in a single point:

THE DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL AND THE PCR COURT ERRED IN DENYING HIS ...

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