STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MARTIN L. ROGERS

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE

APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY

APPELLATE DIVISION

DOCKET NO. A-0

STATE OF NEW JERSEY,

Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

MARTIN L. ROGERS,

Defendant-Appellant.

____________________________________________

October 28, 2014

 

Submitted September 16, 2014 Decided

Before Judges Nugent and Manahan.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 99-09-2887.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Alan I. Smith, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Carolyn A. Murray, Acting Essex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Barbara A. Rosenkrans, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

PER CURIAM

Defendant, Martin Rogers, appeals from a Law Division order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) after oral argument, without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

On May 23, 1999, a service station attendant in Irvington was approached by a man, whose face was partly obscured, wielding a gun. The man, later identified as defendant, grabbed money from the attendant's pocket and fled from the station in an older, brown car toward the Garden State Parkway.

Irvington Police Officers, Brown and Doriety, observed a car matching the description of the suspect car on the Parkway, being operated by defendant. The officers attempted to pull the car over at a toll booth. Defendant pulled over, stuck his head out the window, said he did not do anything, and drove away. During the ensuing pursuit, defendant threw a gun out of his car that was recovered by police. The gun was later identified by the attendant as the gun used during the robbery.

Defendant was pursued through East Orange. After the car became inoperable, defendant fled on foot. Defendant was apprehended by Officers Brown and Doriety and placed under arrest.

Defendant was charged in a seven-count indictment with various offenses in connection with the robbery and subsequent events. On March 22, 2000, after a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of first-degree robbery, third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree assault on an officer, fourth-degree resisting arrest and third-degree terroristic threats. On April 7, 2000, defendant was sentenced to an aggregate discretionary extended term of fifty years imprisonment with a parole disqualifier of forty-two-and-a-half years under the No Early Release Act (NERA), as well as a twenty-five year period of parole ineligibility under the Graves Act. On appeal, we affirmed the convictions. Due to an improper calculation of the NERA period of parole ineligibility, the matter was remanded.

On October 17, 2000, defendant was resentenced to forty-four years of incarceration with a twenty-two year period of parole ineligibility. On March 3, 2004, we affirmed the sentence. Defendant filed a petition for PCR on August 1, 2004. He filed supplemental PCR claims on July 29, 2005 and February 6, 2006. On August 11, 2006, the trial judge issued a written opinion with a corresponding order denying the PCR. After the PCR was denied, prior to filing an appeal, defendant filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court raising the same issues raised before the PCR judge. The federal court judge denied the relief in a habeas corpus decision finding that defendant had not made "a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right" under 28 U.S.C. 2253(c)(2). Thereafter, defendant appealed. We remanded the matter for reconsideration of the PCR and for assignment of new counsel.1 On remand, after oral argument, Judge Martin G. Cronin concluded that defendant's arguments were either procedurally barred or without merit. On August 9, 2012, Judge Cronin issued an order and fifteen-page letter opinion. This appeal followed.

Defendant raises

POINT I

THE ORDER DENYING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE REVERSED AND THE MATTER REMANDED FOR A FULL EVIDENTIARY HEARING BECAUSE DEFENDANT MADE A PRIMA FACIE SHOWING OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL UNDER THE STRICKLAND/FRITZ TEST.

POINT II

THE ORDER DENYING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE PCR COURT MISAPPLIED RULE 3:22-4 AND RULE 3:22-5.

POINT III

THE COURT'S RULING DENYING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF VIOLATED DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL AS GUARATNEED BY THE SIXTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

After our careful review of the record, in light of the issues raised, we reject the arguments asserted by defendant. We affirm substantially for the reasons stated in Judge Cronin's comprehensive and thoughtful decision.

Affirmed.

1 Although we found that the PCR judge's decision was "comprehensive," we also found that PCR counsel did not perform in conformity with State v. Rue, 175 N.J. 1 (2002) and State v. Webster, 187 N.J. 254 (2006).