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State v. Camino

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 15, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GEOVANY CAMINO, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 6, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 05-07-0756.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Michael C. Wroblewski, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Theodore J. Romankow, Union County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Jeremiah E. Lenihan, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Espinosa and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

In April 2006, defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of second-degree distribution of heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(2). The charge was based upon his sale of slightly more than twenty grams of heroin to an undercover police officer. The State agreed to dismiss other charges against defendant and recommend a sentence of eight years imprisonment with a minimum parole ineligibility period of four years.

Prior to sentencing, defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The trial court denied his motion and sentenced him to eight years with four years parole ineligibility in accord with the plea agreement.

Defendant filed a direct appeal, arguing only that his sentence was excessive. We affirmed his sentence by order dated September 24, 2009. The Supreme Court denied his petition for certification, 201 N.J. 273 (2010).

Defendant filed a PCR petition in November 2009, in which he stated his claim for relief was based on "[e]xcessive sentence; misrepresentation of coun[s]el." A brief and certification were submitted on behalf of defendant in January 2011. In this brief, defendant raised additional claims, arguing that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request additional discovery concerning the involvement of the informant, failing to conduct an adequate investigation, and allowing his guilty plea to go through when it was not knowing and voluntary; that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea; and that cumulative errors by counsel deprived him of a fair trial.

Defendant submitted a certification in support of his petition in which he said that, despite his request to see all discovery before pleading guilty, his trial counsel only showed him "a transcript of the wiretap." In addition, he certified that he "felt pressured into taking the plea even though [he] thought it was not in [his] best interests" and told his attorney that "numerous times." He described the pressure as follows:

7. I was told that if I did not take the plea and I proceeded to trial, my co-defendant, Jessica, would also have to go to ...

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