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State v. Brown

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 23, 2018

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
KEVIN BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued November 1, 2017

          On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Indictment No. 08-12-2199.

          Eric M. Mark argued the cause for appellant.

          Michael R. Philips, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Gurbir S. Grewal, Bergen County Prosecutor, attorney; Michael R. Philips, of counsel and on the brief; Nicole Paton, on the brief).

          Before Judges Fuentes, Manahan and Suter. [1]

          OPINION

          FUENTES, P.J.A.D.

          Defendant Kevin Brown appeals from the order of the Criminal Part denying his petition seeking post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

         On December 19, 2008, a Bergen County Grand Jury returned an indictment against defendant charging him with third-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(11); fourth-degree possession of marijuana, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3); and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). Defendant was represented at all proceedings related to this case by a staff attorney from the Bergen County Office of the Public Defender.

         On July 7, 2010, defendant entered into a negotiated agreement with the State through which he pled guilty to the first count in the indictment charging him with third-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.[2] As described by the prosecutor, in exchange for defendant's guilty plea, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts in the indictment and recommend that the court sentence defendant to a term of probation conditioned upon serving 364 days in the Bergen County jail.[3]

         After placing defendant under oath, the judge asked him the following questions with respect to his immigration status and apprised him of the potential legal consequences of his decision to plead guilty:

THE COURT: All right. Now, are you a United States citizen?
DEFENDANT: No.[4]
THE COURT: Do you understand [that] if you're not a United States citizen or national you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Do you understand that if you plead guilty to a crime of a certain aggravated felony under federal law you will be subject . . . to deportation or removal?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Do you understand you have the right to seek legal advice on your immigration status prior to entering a plea of guilty?
DE FENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: All right. And you have sought advice on the immigration aspect of it?
DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: Are you prepared to proceed ...

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