NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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, Passaic County, Indictment No. 08-06-0808.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Alan I. Smith, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Camelia M. Valdes, Passaic County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Keith E. Hoffman, Senior Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).
Before Judges Axelrad and Fuentes.
Defendant, Fernando Aziani-Lara, who is not a United States citizen, pled guilty in September 2009 to third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(2), and in January 2010 he received a four-year probationary term. He did not file a direct appeal. He was subsequently arrested on a United States Department of Justice INS detainer and was ordered to be deported from the United States. In September 2010, defendant filed a pro se post-conviction relief (PCR) petition pro se, supplemented by assigned counsel. He argued, in part, that he was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel in negotiating the guilty plea and regarding the deportation consequences of the plea. Following oral argument, Judge Raymond Reddin, who had also been the judge who took defendant's plea and sentenced him, denied the PCR petition in a written opinion and order of May 27, 2011.
Defendant appeals, presenting the following arguments:
THE ORDER DENYING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE REVERSED AND DEFENDANT'S GUILTY PLEA VACATED BECAUSE THE CONVENIENCE TO TRIAL COUNSEL OF RESOLVING THE CASE BY AN UNNECESSARY PLEA BARGAIN WAS CONTRARY TO HIS FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT DUE PROCESS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL DURING THE PLEA BARGAINING PROCESS.
THE ORDER DENYING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE TRIAL COUNSEL'S FAILURE TO ADVISE DEFENDANT OF THE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ...