NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 30, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 07-04-0648.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Frank M. Gennaro, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Andrew C. Carey, Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Nancy A. Hulett, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Espinosa and Hoffman.
Defendant appeals from the January 19, 2012 Law Division order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
On April 19, 2007, a Middlesex County Grand Jury returned Indictment No. 07-04-648, charging defendant Ikeem T. Handy, and co-defendant, Rahsaan B. Anderson, with: first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count one); second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a (count two); third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5b (count three); fourth-degree criminal mischief, N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3a(1) (count four); and fourth-degree obstructing the administration of law, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 (count five).
On the same day, a Middlesex County Grand Jury returned Indictment No. 07-04-654, a one count indictment charging defendant with second-degree certain persons not to have weapons, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7b.
Both indictments stemmed from the January 27, 2007 robbery of a gas station in North Brunswick. At about 7:50 p.m. on that date, North Brunswick police were dispatched to the gas station at Georges Road and Route 1, in response to a report of a robbery.
The alleged victims of the robbery told police that two men, later identified as defendant and Anderson, entered the station with a gun and demanded money. The victims maintained that, after they turned over about $40, defendant handed the gun to Anderson, who unsuccessfully attempted to shoot open a locked door. Anderson also took a green bank money bag. Defendant and Anderson fled in a Jeep, and the victims pursued them, calling the police as they followed. Defendant and Anderson eventually abandoned the Jeep, and the police found defendant nearby, hiding in a dumpster. The police recovered the money bag, $51 in cash, and two black ski masks.
On February 8, 2008 defendant entered into a plea agreement with the State whereby he pled guilty to two charges: count one of Indictment No. 07-04-648 (armed robbery) and Indictment No. 07-04-658 (certain persons). The State agreed to recommend a sentence of ten years in prison, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, on the armed robbery count, and a consecutive term of five years in prison, with a five-year parole bar, on the certain persons not to have weapons charge.
On February 8, 2008, defendant entered guilty pleas to armed robbery and to the certain persons charge. The plea judge elicited a factual basis ...