Kenneth Mr. Vercammen was included in the 2020 “Super Lawyers” list published by Thomson Reuters.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019


After allegedly rejecting a recommended thirty-year NERA term and entering an open plea to a nine-count indictment, defendant Lewis Hooper was sentenced to sixty years in State prison, forty-four of which were to be served without parole. He appeals his sentence and the denial of his motion to withdraw his open plea after sentencing based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Because defendant established a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of counsel, we conclude the trial court erred when it refused to consider defendant's claim merely because it was raised in conjunction with a motion to withdraw his plea after sentencing and not in a PCR proceeding. In this case, there was no good reason for the trial court to have insisted that defendant file an appeal and then a petition for PCR in order to have his ineffective assistance claim heard, instead of hearing it along with defendant's Slater motion
We also vacate defendant's sentence on account of the court's failure to address the Yarbough factors after determining to impose an extended-term sentence and remand for resentencing, if necessary, following the hearing on defendant's motion to withdraw his plea.