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State v. Morales

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 14, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JOSEPH MORALES, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 5, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment Nos. 05-10-1503, 05-10-1422, and 06-05-0896.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Kisha M. Hebbon, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Gaetano T. Gregory, Acting Hudson County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Miriam L. Acevedo, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Haas.

PER CURIAM

Defendant Joseph Morales appeals from an August 3, 2011 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

Defendant was the subject of three separate Hudson County indictments. In Indictment No. 05-10-1422, defendant was charged with first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one); three counts of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (counts two, five, and ten); three counts of third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b (counts three, six, and eleven); second-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count four); two counts of third-degree receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (counts seven and nine); and second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b (count eight).

In Indictment No. 05-10-1503, defendant was charged with second-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one), and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count two). In Indictment No. 06-05-0896, defendant was charged with second-degree eluding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b (count one), and third-degree receiving stolen property, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (count two).

Pursuant to a plea bargain, defendant pled guilty to an amended charge of second-degree robbery under count one of Indictment No. 05-10-1422; count one, second-degree robbery under Indictment No. 05-10-1503; and count one, second-degree eluding, under Indictment No. 06-05-0896. On March 30, 2007, Judge Camille Kenny sentenced defendant, in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, to eight years in prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, on count one of Indictment No. 05-10-1422; eight years, subject to NERA, on count one of Indictment No. 05-10-1503; and five years on count one of Indictment No. 06-05-0896. All of the sentences were to run concurrently with each other. The judge dismissed all the remaining charges and imposed appropriate assessments and penalties. Defendant did not file a direct appeal from his conviction and sentence.

On June 10, 2010, defendant filed a petition for PCR. He sought to vacate his guilty plea and asked for a trial on all of the charges in the three indictments. Defendant's petition did not set forth any factual allegations in support of his requested relief.

The court assigned counsel to defendant. On January 19, 2011, counsel filed a brief on defendant's behalf. The brief noted that "[d]efendant has not listed an issue to be raised on post-conviction on the petition itself." However, counsel explained that defendant was seeking PCR ...


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