STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. SHERRONE H. ROBINSON
This appeal calls upon us to determine the proper sentence that survives merger of defendant's two convictions. Defendant pled guilty to second-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. Pursuant to the negotiated plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to a four-year prison term on the burglary charge, subject to an eighty-five percent parole ineligibility period under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, and to a concurrent five-year prison term on the weapon offense, subject to a mandatory minimum term of three years under the Graves Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c).
Defendant appealed, arguing that the convictions should merge since the sole intended purpose of the weapon involved commission of the burglary. Defendant further argues that, upon merger, the burglary sentence should survive and the sentence on the weapon offense should be vacated. The State agrees that merger is appropriate, but that the most severe aspect of each sentence should survive. On the specific facts of this case, we conclude that imposing the more severe aspects of the sentence for each offense is consistent with the plea agreement. Accordingly, on the merged convictions, defendant's sentence shall be modified to a five-year term of imprisonment, of which four years shall
be subject to an eighty-five percent parole ineligibility period under NERA.