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State v. Black

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 18, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
KEITH BLACK, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 14, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 05-06-0790.

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

Gaetano T. Gregory, Acting Hudson County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Stephanie Davis-Elson, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).

Before Judges Graves and Espinosa.

PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm, substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Joseph V. Isabella in his written decision.

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted in August 2006, of first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1) and (2); first-degree attempted murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and 2C:11-3; second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1); third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(2); and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a). The sentencing court imposed an aggregate sentence of forty-five years subject to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.

Defendant filed a direct appeal in which he argued that the trial judge erred in charging flight to the jury and in failing to hold a hearing after a juror began crying, and that his sentence was excessive. We affirmed his convictions and sentence in an unpublished opinion. State v. Black, No. A-2060-06 (App. Div. July 1, 2009). The Supreme Court denied his petition for certification, 200 N.J. 371 (2009).

The facts underlying defendant's convictions are set forth in our opinion and need not be repeated here.

Defendant filed a pro se PCR petition in January 2010, in which he stated his claim was based upon ineffective assistance of counsel. A brief was submitted on behalf of defendant in November 2010, in which the following arguments were made:

POINT I
THE INDICTMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
POINT II
EVIDENCE OF DEFENDANT'S ALLEGED BAD CHARACTER AND PRIOR BAD ACTS WERE IMPROPERLY PUT BEFORE THE JURY IN VIOLATION OF THE DEFENDANT'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
POINT III
THE TRIAL COURT DENIED THE DEFENDANT HIS RIGHT TO AN IMPARTIAL JURY AND HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL BECAUSE ...

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