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State v. Pratola

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 31, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DONALD PRATOLA, Defendant-Appellant

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 23, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. SGJ-2-80.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Charles H. Landesman, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Daniel I. Bornstein, Deputy Attorney General, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Yannotti and Hoffman.

PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from the January 14, 2011 Law Division order denying his application for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

In 1981, defendant was convicted of murder, attempted robbery and related charges. Defendant appealed and we affirmed. State v. Pratola, No. A-4570-80 (App. Div. Oct. 21, 1982). Over the span of more than three decades, defendant has repeatedly attempted to set his conviction aside. The underlying facts of this case have been discussed on multiple occasions and need not be repeated here.[1] In a 1999 opinion in defendant's appeal from an order denying his motion for a new trial and petition for PCR, we summarized the lengthy procedural history of this case:

[B]etween 1982 and 1988, defendant made numerous attempts in state and federal courts to overturn his conviction, but was unsuccessful.
In 1990, defendant filed pro se another motion for a new trial. This motion was supplemented and expanded by defense counsel. After a four-day hearing, the judge granted the motion and ordered a new trial. However, we reversed and reinstated defendant's conviction. State v. Pratola, No. A-181-93 (App. Div. March 24, 1994).[] Thereafter, defendant unsuccessfully sought federal habeas corpus relief again. In January 1996 and October 1996, defendant moved again for a new trial alleging newly discovered evidence. These motions were denied by Judge Betty J. Lester
Defendant filed yet another motion for a new trial alleging newly discovered evidence. He also moved for reconsideration of the denial of his motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. . . .
. . . .
The latest motion for a new trial ...

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