NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 10, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment Nos. 04-06-1487, 05-09-1971 and 06-05-0973 and Accusation No. 05-11-2363.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Michael C. Kazer, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Monica do Outeiro, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Reisner and Ostrer.
Defendant Roger Louis appeals from the trial court's April 19, 2011, order that denied, after an evidentiary hearing, his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) from three judgments of conviction entered in 2004, 2006 and 2007 — each after a guilty plea. Defendant argues that each of the three attorneys who represented him in connection with those pleas provided ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to his immigration status. Having considered defendant's arguments in light of the facts and applicable law, we affirm.
We discern the following facts from the record. Defendant was born in Haiti in 1984. He immigrated to the United States as a child and became a permanent resident, but never attained citizenship.
On September 20, 2004, defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy to possess cocaine, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2; N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). The charge was amended from third-degree possession as part of defendant's plea agreement.
Defendant responded "N/A" to question seventeen of his plea form, which asked, "Do you understand that if you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty?" However, the court directly asked defendant if he was a United States citizen. He said he was not, he was born in Haiti, and he was a resident. The judge then asked, "Do you realize that as a result of this plea, there is a possibility that you could be deported from this country?" Defendant responded that he did. Defendant also confirmed that no promise had been made to him that he "cannot be deported from this country as a result of this plea, " and that his attorney had explained "that aspect of the plea."
In accordance with the plea agreement, the court sentenced defendant on January 28, 2005 to one year of probation, subject to various conditions, including his continued attendance at Brookdale Community College. ...