NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted June 25, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 08-04-1064.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Karen A. Lodeserto, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Monica do Outiero, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Sabatino.
Defendant Justin P. Robinson, who pled guilty in 2008 pursuant to an agreement with the State to various offenses charged under an indictment and a separate accusation, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"). We affirm.
The record shows that on the evening of January 11, 2008, defendant struck a Belmar police officer during a domestic dispute at his mother's residence. The incident led to the issuance of Indictment No. 08-04-1064, charging defendant with third-degree aggravated assault on a police officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5)(a), and three other offenses.
The record further shows that on March 1, 2008, police officers in Asbury Park stopped defendant's vehicle, which was waiting at a traffic light, after they observed him in a physical altercation with his then-fiancée inside the car. The police ordered defendant out of the car. They noticed swelling around the woman's lips and red marks around her neck and chest. Although the woman declined to pursue a domestic violence restraining order, she did advise the police that defendant, who had been drinking, had struck her with the back of his hand across her face and pushed her against the car door. The police arrested defendant and he was found in possession of cocaine.
The March 1, 2008 events led to the issuance of Accusation No. 08-05-1293, which charged defendant with second-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance ("CDS") with intent to distribute it, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2), as well as three other offenses.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, defendant appeared with his counsel before the court on May 27, 2008, and pled guilty to the third-degree aggravated assault count of Indictment No. 08-04-1064, and the second-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute count of Accusation No. 08—05-1293. The remaining charges against defendant were dismissed. During the plea colloquy, defendant advised the court under oath that he was satisfied with his plea counsel's services.
On June 27, 2008, defendant appeared for sentencing and also admitted to a separate violation of probation. Consistent with the plea agreement, the court imposed a five-year aggregate custodial sentence.
After this court dismissed defendant's attempted appeal of his conviction as untimely, he filed the instant petition for PCR in April 2010. In his petition, defendant alleged that his trial counsel had been ineffective in numerous ways. In particular, defendant claimed that his counsel failed to interview the fiancée and another witness to the incident, Tyrone Billingsley, after the arrest, and that they would have refuted the police officers' account based on what they had observed and, in fact, alleged that the police had dragged defendant out of the car and beaten him. ...