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Defendant Wins Partial PCR Victory

17
Dec
2010

by in Criminal Appeals, Criminal Defense

State v. Reynaldo Corriano, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-2244-07T4 (October 19, 2010) – Denial of PCR affirmed in part, reversed in part, remanded for evidentiary hearing. “We come to a different conclusion with respect to defendant’s claims of ineffective assistance of plea counsel. Such claims generally fall within the first exception to Rule 3:22-4(a): ‘the ground for relief not previously asserted could not reasonably have been raised in any prior proceeding.’ R. 3:22-4(a)(1)…. Until defendant learned of the five-year parole term, he had no reason to suspect that his counsel was ineffective in advising him of the penal consequences of the plea. The allegations made by defendant respecting his counsel are based on evidence outside the record and should be heard in a PCR application … if he has made out a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of counsel…. However, we cannot determine with any certainty that such a failure occurred, particularly since, in connection with question 2 of NERA plea form, the term of parole was entered by hand and then changed, even though no answer to the question was recorded. The record before us also does not permit us to determine whether ‘there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, [defendant] would not have [pled] guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.’… Defendant has certainly asserted that this is so, which is sufficient for a prima facie case under the second prong of Strickland, but the inquiry does not end there…. The attorney’s testimony is certainly required to determine and evaluate these facts, as is the testimony of defendant.”

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