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State v. Bennet

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 10, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JOE BENNET, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 3, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 05-12-1788.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Steven J. Sloan, 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 Fisher and Espinosa.

PER CURIAM

Defendant was charged with two counts of armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, and other related offenses regarding a hold-up at a motel in North Bergen on September 18, 2005. After his motion to suppress evidence was denied, defendant pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, to one count of armed robbery and sentenced to an eighteen-year prison term with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

In his direct appeal, defendant argued that the trial judge erred in denying his motion to suppress and his sentence was manifestly excessive. By way of an unpublished opinion, we found no merit in defendant's arguments to warrant discussion in a written opinion. State v. Bennet, No. A-4564-07 (App. Div. Aug. 18, 2009). The Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for certification. 200 N.J. 549 (2009).

On July 9, 2010, defendant filed a post-conviction relief (PCR) petition, arguing he was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel. Defendant claimed his attorney failed to investigate, was compromised by a conflict of interest, neglected to "introduce medical reports of the victim, " and "failed to introduce the video tape which would have shown victim with defendant and codefendant." The PCR petition was denied.

Defendant appeals the denial of his PCR petition, arguing in a single point:

THE COURT MISAPPLIED THE LAW IN DENYING THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF WITHOUT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON WHETHER DEFENDANT RECEIVED INADEQUATE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL BY COUNSEL'S FAILURE TO PURSUE THE BRADY[1] VIOLATION.

We find no merit in this argument and affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Paul M. DePascale in his thorough and thoughtful oral opinion.

Affirmed.


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