STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MARK VASSOS

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE

APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY

APPELLATE DIVISION

DOCKET NO. A-5130-11T1

STATE OF NEW JERSEY,

Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

MARK VASSOS,

Defendant-Appellant.

________________________________

December 15, 2014

 

Submitted December 9, 2014 Decided

Before Judges Fasciale and Hoffman.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Indictment No. 98-12-2433.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (William Welaj, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John L. Molinelli, Bergen County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Annmarie Cozzi, Senior Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).


PER CURIAM

Defendant appeals from a May 10, 2011 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), and a January 20, 2012 order denying his application for additional gap-time credit.1 We affirm.

In July 2001, defendant was tried before a jury on various charges contained in a fourteen-count indictment. The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to Counts One through Eight of the indictment, but found defendant guilty on Counts Nine through Fourteen charging various second-degree crimes including robbery, burglary, and theft-related offenses. The judge imposed an aggregate extended prison term of twenty-seven years with thirteen years of parole ineligibility. We affirmed the convictions and sentence. State v. Vassos, No. A-3233-01 (App. Div. Feb. 28, 2005). The Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Vassos, 183 N.J. 591 (2005).

In November 2005, defendant filed a pro se petition for PCR challenging his sentence and contending that his trial attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. While the petition was pending, defendant pled guilty to Count One of the indictment and the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. The court followed the plea agreement and ran the new sentence concurrent to the previously-imposed sentence. The court then amended the judgment of conviction (JOC) to modify the amount of defendant's jail and gap-time credit. Defendant did not appeal from the amended JOC.

In May 2011, after the appointment of PCR counsel, the judge conducted oral argument on defendant's petition. On May 10, 2011, the judge rendered his decision, denied the petition for PCR, and entered an order merging two of defendant's convictions.

In June 2011, defendant filed a pro se motion to correct an alleged illegal sentence maintaining that the State had agreed to give him more gap-time credit. The judge then issued the January 20, 2012 order denying defendant's motion. On July 17, 2012, the judge issued an amplification of reasons pursuant to Rule 2:5-1(b) in support of the order denying gap-time credit stating that "no agreement between the parties existed and that there is no basis in the law to award gap-time credits . . . ."

On appeal, defendant argues the following point

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR [PCR] MAINTAINING HE WAS ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL JAIL CREDITS AS A RESULT OF AN AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN TRIAL COUNSEL AND THE STATE.2

As noted, our review is limited to defendant's contention that the judge erred by denying his motion for additional gap-time credit. After carefully considering the record and the briefs, we conclude that defendant's argument is "without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion," R. 2:11-3(e)(2), and affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by the judge. However, we add the following brief comments.

The record here supports the judge's determination that there was no agreement between the State and defendant to award defendant additional jail credits. The judge also correctly determined that, under the applicable law, defendant failed to establish any basis for the award of additional gap-time credit.

Affirmed.


1 In October 2013, the Department of Corrections released defendant from prison.

2 Defendant has waived any contention on appeal that the judge erred by denying his petition for PCR. See Sklodowsky v. Lushis, 417 N.J. Super. 648, 657 (App. Div. 2011) (indicating that "[a]n issue not briefed on appeal is deemed waived").