A superior court judge in Morristown has rejected a request for a post-conviction relief hearing by a West Orange NJ lobbyist charged with stalking.
44-year-old Karen Golding entered a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program in 2007 after being accused of stalking the girlfriend of Union Democratic Assemblyman Joseph Cryan. The charges stemmed from a 2007 incident in which Golding allegedly trespassed in Cryan’s car.
The burglary charges were ultimately dismissed, and Golding was granted permission to enter a PTI program for the stalking charges. Golding’s admission into the PTI program came against the recommendation of the probation director.
Golding was terminated from the PTI program in 2009. Golding’s attorneys later filed an appeal to have her conviction overturned and her sentence vacated. Both of these requests were denied in 2012.
More recently, Golding’s new representation filed a motion for a post-conviction relief hearing. Golding’s attorneys argued that her former legal counsel was insufficient. Golding’s counsel also argued that certain email correspondence between Golding and the assemblyman had been suppressed.
Post-conviction relief motions are addressed by Rule 3:22-2 in the NJ criminal code. The rule enumerates the possible grounds upon which a post-conviction relief motion can be established. The motion does not substitute for a criminal appeal. However, it is a collateral attack that may be used in certain cases if the attorney can successfully establish grounds for such a ruling.
In this case, the superior court judge rejected the motion for a post-conviction relief hearing on the grounds that Golding’s previous attorneys were working “well within the guidelines of competent counsel.” However, Golding’s current attorney announced plans to appeal the judge’s decision.
For more information about the case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Judge Denies Woman’s Bid for Post-Conviction Relief in Stalking of Assemblyman’s Girlfriend.“