NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 25, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 08-12-3640.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Gilbert G. Miller, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Warren W. Faulk, Camden County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Linda A. Shashoua, Assistant Prosecutor, Deputy Chief, Motion and Appeals Unit, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Graves and Guadagno.
In a seven-count indictment, defendant James Woods and co-defendant Perry Alston were jointly charged with first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1) (count one); third-degree possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count two); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a knife, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) (count three); second-degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1) (count four); and fourth-degree resisting arrest by flight, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a) (count six). Alston was separately charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count five); and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5 (count seven). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of all charges against him.
At sentencing on August 13, 2010, the court denied the State's motion to sentence defendant to an extended term as a persistent offender. The court identified three aggravating factors: the risk defendant will commit another offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a)(3); the extent of defendant's prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a)(6); and the need to deter defendant and others from violating the law, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(a)(9). The court found no mitigating factors. After merging counts two, three, and four into count one, the court sentenced defendant to a seventeen-year prison term, with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. The court imposed a concurrent one-year term on count six. On appeal, defendant submits the following arguments: POINT I
THE EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT DEFENDANT'S CONVICTIONS, AND HIS CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
THE TRIAL COURT'S JURY INSTRUCTIONS WERE INADEQUATE RESULTING IN UNDUE PREJUDICE.
THE PRO SE CO-DEFENDANT'S IMPROPER OPENING STATEMENT REMARKS WERE HIGHLY PREJUDICIAL TO DEFENDANT AND DEPRIVED HIM OF A FAIR TRIAL.
DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE ...