Jersey City man in jail for drug dealing conviction will get new court hearing

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The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division has ruled that a Jersey City man that has been in jail for a drug dealing conviction since 2016 will get a new evidentiary hearing in his case.

Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“After carefully reviewing the record in light of the applicable legal principles, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion by denying defendant’s PCR petition without holding an evidentiary hearing,” Appellate Judges Carmen Alvarez and Patrick DeAlmeida wrote in Thursday’s opinion.

“Our review revealed two unresolved factual issues pertinent to whether, and to what extent, the IAD applies in this matter: (1) whether the State issued a detainer against defendant; and (2) whether defendant completed his federal custodial sentence before the start of his State trial.”

In short, Xzavier Hayes, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school all the way back on March 5th, 2013.

Then on January 30th, 2015, the trial court granted Hayes’ motion to vacate his guilty plea with the state’s consent. He was indicted on nearly identical drug possession charges a month later and went to trial on January 12th, 2016.

He was found guilty on all counts and was given a 10-year prison sentence, with a five-year period of parole eligibility.

With all that in mind, the appellate division feels that the trial court must take another look at whether or not Hayes was given proper post-conviction relief.

“If the trial court determines the IAD is applicable to any period at issue here, an evidentiary hearing is necessary to determine the extent to which the start of defendant’s trial was delayed as a result of applications defendant made to the court for his benefit and whether his counsel was ineffective for: (1) not moving to dismiss the charges against defendant (a) after expiration of the initial 180-day period and before the State’s application for a 120-day continuance; or (b) after expiration of the 120-day continuance and before the start of defendant’s trial; or (2) consenting to entry of the 120-day continuance without consulting defendant.

“The trial court analysis, of course, will necessarily include a determination of whether any application by defendant’s counsel to dismiss the indictment would have been successful.”

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Hayes is up for parole eligibility on May 1st, 2020, and his max release date is February 22nd, 2022.