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Juvenile Given PCR Evidentiary Hearing After Court’s Recording Equipment Malfunction

19
Sep
2010

by in Criminal Defense

State in the Interest of C.P.H., unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-0936-08T4 (July 23, 2010) – Denial of PCR reversed, case remanded for an evidentiary hearing.

“The October 4, 2002 juvenile order of disposition has no check-off for Megan’s Law notification, but it specifies sex specific treatment. On the date of sentencing, the court’s recording equipment did not function. As a result, we do not have a record of what the Family Part judge said at that proceeding regarding Megan’s Law, or other matters relevant to the current appeal. The juvenile does not dispute, however, that the registration and notification requirements of Megan’s Law, N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2 to -5, apply to his juvenile adjudication of a sex offense…. He contends that he was not adequately advised by his attorney regarding the permanent nature of those requirements…. We conclude that the PCR court should have held an evidentiary hearing to resolve disputed issues of fact outside the record of proceedings and to make factual findings on an evidentiary record as to the truth of the juvenile’s allegations that he was given inadequate Megan’s Law advice…. [N]either defense counsel’s certification nor the record of court proceedings made any reference to the permanency of the Megan’s Law obligation. Neither was so comprehensive and irrefutable that an evidentiary hearing would have been of no assistance in resolving that disputed fact. At the time of the plea, the court did not state that the registration and notification requirements would be a lifetime obligation. Likewise, the plea form signed by C.P.H. and his father contained information and questions regarding the juvenile’s understanding of Megan’s Law registration and notification requirements, but it did not state the duration of the obligation. We conclude C.P.H. established a prima facie case that entitled him to an evidentiary hearing to prove his allegations that he was given inadequate information and advice about the Megan’s Law consequences of his admission of guilt.”

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