NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued May 29, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Municipal Appeal No. 001-22-12.
Stephen M. Pascarella argued the cause for appellant (Pascarella & Associates, P.C., attorneys; Laura M. Majewski, on the brief).
Annmarie Cozzi, Senior Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (John L. Molinelli, Bergen County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Cozzi, on the brief).
Before Judges Yannotti and Harris.
Defendant Kevin P. Casey appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on May 23, 2012, denying his petition for post- conviction relief (PCR), and an order entered on June 4, 2012, denying his motion for reconsideration. We affirm.
On May 30, 2009, the Bergen County Police Department issued summonses to defendant for driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50; refusal to take a breath test, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2; failure to maintain motor vehicle insurance coverage, N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2; failure to have vehicle inspected, N.J.S.A. 39:8-1; and for cracked safety glass, N.J.S.A. 39:3-75. Defendant appeared on September 22, 2009, in Bergen County's Central Municipal Court. He was represented by Joseph S. DiMaria (DiMaria).
Defendant pled guilty to DWI, and the State agreed to dismiss the other summonses. He stated that, on the date in question, at 3:26 a.m., he was intoxicated. Defendant said he had been drinking at a bar in Hackensack, where he had three or four beers. The police stopped defendant at a DWI checkpoint. The judge sentenced defendant to 180 days in the county jail, and imposed a ten-year suspension of defendant's driving privileges, a two-year suspension of his vehicle registration, and various monetary sanctions.
In September 2011, defendant filed a PCR petition in the municipal court, alleging that he had been denied the effective assistance of counsel. Defendant claimed that his attorney had an impermissible conflict of interest because DiMaria's son and law partner, Mark DiMaria is a municipal prosecutor in several Bergen County municipalities. Defendant also claimed that DiMaria misinformed him concerning the penalties that could be imposed and failed to tell him he had a right to appeal. The municipal court judge considered the matter on February 9, 2012, and denied the petition.
Defendant sought de novo review by the Law Division. The judge considered the petition on May 11, 2012. The judge found that DiMaria did not have a conflict of interest which precluded him from representing defendant. The judge also found that defendant had not been denied the effective assistance of counsel. The judge entered an order dated May 23, 2012 denying PCR. Thereafter, defendant filed a ...