NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 3, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment Nos. 03-12-1303, 04-06-0609, and 04-07-0701.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Gregory P. Jordan, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Grace H. Park, Acting Union County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Stacey Zyriek, Special Deputy Attorney General/ Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Axelrad and Fuentes.
Defendant Joshua Jones appeals from the March 4, 2011 order of the Law Division denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. Defendant had argued ineffective assistance of trial counsel, in part, in failing to advise him of the consequences of parole ineligibility and the "real time" penal consequences of his plea. We affirm.
In May 2005, defendant pled guilty to two counts of third-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute within a school zone, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (count three of Union County Indictment No. 03-12-1303 and count four of Union County Indictment No. 04-06-0609), and third-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and -5(b)(3) (count two of Union County Indictment No. 04-07-0701). In September 2005, defendant was sentenced to the negotiated term of five years imprisonment with a two-year parole disqualifier on each indictment. The sentences were to run consecutive to each other and concurrent to defendant's sentences in Middlesex and Somerset counties. The State dismissed the remaining charges.
Defendant appealed his sentence, which we affirmed on an ESOA calendar, R. 2:9-11, by order of February 6, 2007. On May 21, 2009, the Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Jones, 199 N.J. 518 (2009).
In November 2009, defendant filed a pro se PCR petition, supplemented by counsel, asserting ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to advise him that the six-year period of parole ineligibility would not begin until he was actually sentenced on the charges rather than as of the time of his arrest in Somerset County in July 2004, and in failing to advise him in "real time" of the penal consequences of his plea. He also asserted ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel in failing to argue that maximum consecutive sentences are excessive and disfavored in New Jersey.
Following oral argument on February 18, 2011, Judge Robert J. Mega denied defendant's PCR petition in a letter opinion and order. This appeal ensued.
On appeal, defendant argues that trial counsel's representation of him "was deficient in that he failed to advise him properly regarding his parole ineligibility period upon entering his guilty plea[, ]" which "deficiency resulted in a loss of [his] constitutional rights." Defendant further argues that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to explain the penal consequences of his plea, particularly that the approximate one year he spent in state prison on out-of-county charges would not apply to his parole disqualifier on these charges. Finally, defendant asserts error by the court in not granting him an evidentiary hearing on these issues.
Based on our review of the record and applicable law, we are not persuaded by any of defendant's arguments. We affirm substantially for the reasons articulated by Judge Mega in his comprehensive ...