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State v. Hoosier

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 20, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
RASHAN T. HOOSIER, Defendant-Appellant.


Submitted February 4, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Indictment No. 02-07-1017.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Alison Perrone, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Robert D. Bernardi, Burlington County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Jennifer B. Paszkiewicz, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Ashrafi and Guadagno.


Defendant Rashan T. Hoosier appeals from an October 1, 2010 order of the Law Division denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

This appeal has a convoluted procedural history, but the essence of it is that defendant obtained the relief he originally sought — his 2003 conviction after a guilty plea was vacated and he had a second opportunity either to stand trial on a multitude of indictments or to enter into a new plea agreement. He chose the latter option and pleaded guilty a second time. He now appeals from denial of his PCR petition after the second guilty plea. It appears that defendant seeks relief that he is simply not entitled to, namely, a capping of his sentencing exposure in accordance with the original guilty plea and sentencing without his complying with all the conditions of that first plea agreement.

The relevant facts and procedural history are not significantly in dispute. From March through August 2002, grand juries in Burlington County returned nine indictments against defendant, containing a total of thirty-eight counts. The charges included five counts of first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and a host of weapons, assault, conspiracy, resisting arrest, and other offenses. Defendant was accused of committing store robberies, street muggings, assaults on police officers, and crimes related to those incidents.

At the time of the indictments, the twenty-four-year-old defendant already had an extensive juvenile offense history, including charges of robbery and assault, and he had also been convicted as an adult several times on charges disposed of in municipal courts and twice in the Superior Court for indictable offenses. He had previously been sentenced to five years in state prison for committing a robbery. If convicted of one or more the first-degree armed robbery charges in the pending indictments, defendant was subject to a potential extended-term sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3, which meant that he was exposed to a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment. In addition, because the indictments pertained to separate crimes at different times and against different victims, he could have been sentenced to consecutive terms on one or more of the indictments.

In October 2002, defendant entered into a plea agreement with the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office and pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery. The State agreed to dismiss the other thirty-six counts and to recommend two concurrent terms of twenty years imprisonment, one of which was subject to the parole ineligibility and special five-year parole provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. As part of the plea agreement, defendant agreed to waive his right to appeal. In March 2003, the court sentenced defendant to seventeen years in prison subject to NERA.

Despite the terms of the plea agreement, defendant filed a notice of appeal on January 26, 2004. On April 29, 2004, the State filed a letter with this court stating that defendant had violated the terms of his plea agreement by appealing his convictions and that, pursuant to Rule 3:9-3(d), the State would seek to annul the plea agreement. The State requested a remand to the Law Division so that it could file a motion to withdraw from the plea agreement. After defense counsel confirmed that defendant wished to pursue his appeal, we entered an order on June 10, 2004, granting the State's application for remand. In the order we stated:

Pursuant to R. 3:9-3(d), the matter is remanded to the Law Division so that the State may annul the plea agreement and for restoration of ...

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