NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 20, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 07-06-0962.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (William Welaj, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Gaetano T. Gregory, Acting Hudson County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Miriam L. Acevedo, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).
Before Judges Fuentes and Fasciale.
Defendant appeals from a June 8, 2012 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.
A grand jury indicted and charged defendant with first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a (1) or (2). Defendant's plea counsel negotiated an agreement that lessened defendant's possible jail time significantly. Defendant pled guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1), and the judge sentenced defendant in accordance with that agreement to eighteen years in prison subject to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. Defendant appealed and we affirmed on our excessive sentencing calendar, R. 2:9-11. State v. Casco, No. A-5160-07 (App. Div. November 17, 2009).
Defendant filed his petition for PCR. Judge Lisa Rose heard oral argument and denied the petition. She memorialized the reasons for denying the petition in a nineteen-page written opinion. Judge Rose thoroughly considered and rejected defendant's contentions that trial counsel failed to (1) visit defendant and discuss his plea; (2) fully explain the elements of a passion/provocation defense; (3) explore an intoxication defense; (4) fully advise defendant of any plea negotiations or of the possible extent of his sentence; (5) share discovery with defendant; and (6) adequately represent defendant at sentencing. Judge Rose found defendant's contentions were belied by the record and that defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of ineffectiveness of counsel.
On appeal, defendant raises the following points:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AFFORDING HIM AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO FULLY ADDRESS HIS CONTENTION THAT HE FAILED TO RECEIVE ADEQUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT THE TRIAL LEVEL.
A.THE PREVAILING LEGAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING CLAIMS OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL ARISING OUT OF THE ENTRY OF GUILTY PLEAS, EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS ...