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State v. Williams

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

January 31, 2013

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
CHARLESTON S. WILLIAMS Defendant

Order Date May 22, 2013

Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61, RK09-10-039-01 Att. Murder 1st (F) RK09-05-127-01 PDWDCF (F)

R. David Favata, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

Charleston S. Williams, Pro se.

ORDER

On this 22nd day of May, 2013, upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief, the State's Response, the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation, and the record in this case, it appears that:

The Defendant, Charleston Williams, pled guilty on January 31, 2011 to Attempted Murder in the First Degree and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony. In exchange for the plea, the State entered a nolle prosequi on the remaining charge of Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited.

The defendant did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court and instead filed this Rule 61 motion in which he raises one ground for relief claiming a breach of the plea agreement

The matter was referred to the Court Commissioner for findings of fact and recommendation pursuant to 10 Del. C. § 512(b) and Superior Court Criminal Rule 62. Following a complete review of the record in this matter, Commissioner Freud filed a Report and Recommendation recommending that the Court deny defendant's motion for postconviction relief as procedurally barred by Rule 61(i)(3) and meritless. The Defendant did not appeal the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation.

NOW, WHEREFORE, after careful and de novo review of the record in this action, and for the reasons stated in the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation dated January 31, 2013,

IT IS ORDERED that the thoughtful and well-reasoned Commissioner's Report and Recommendation is adopted by the Court and defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief is denied.

William L. Witham, Jr. Resident Judge

COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Andrea Maybee Freud, Commissioner

The Defendant, Charleston S. Williams ("Williams") pled guilty on January 31, 2011 to Attempted Murder in the First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 531 and one count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony, 11 Del. C. § 1447. He had also been charged with Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited. The additional charge was nolle prossed by the State in exchange for his plea in this case. The State recommended a sentence of twenty-five years at Level V, suspended after twenty years minimum mandatory for probation. The Court agreed with the recommendation in the Plea Agreement and sentenced Williams as set forth above.

Williams did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court; instead he filed the pending Rule 61 motion. In his motion, he raises one ground for relief:

Ground One: Breach of Plea agreement.
The prosecution agreed to recommed (sic) a sentence of probation in defendant's new castle county case as a part of the plea, however, it failed to do so.

This comprises Williams motion in toto. It is clear that Williams is not claiming that his guilty plea was invalid or that his sentence itself was invalid or wrong in any degree.

Under Delaware law this Court must first determine whether Williams has met the procedural requirements of Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(i) before it may consider the merits of his postconviction relief claim.[1] This is Williams' first motion for postconviction relief and it was filed within one year of his conviction becoming final, so the requirements of Rule 61(i): (1) - requiring filing within one year and (2) - requiring that all grounds for relief be presented in initial Rule 61 motion, are met. Williams' claim was not raised at the plea, sentencing or on appeal. Therefore, it is barred by Rule 61(i)(3), absent a demonstration of cause for the default and prejudice. Williams has not raised any cause for his failure to raise his claim sooner.

Furthermore, as noted by the State and Williams' former counsel, the State did in fact recommend probation for Williams in his separate case in New Castle County as it had agreed to do in the Plea Agreement in this case. However the judge, as he was free to do and as Williams acknowledged during his plea colloquy, chose to ignore the State's recommendation and sentence Williams to a period of incarceration in the New Castle case. Therefore the State did, in fact, uphold its part of the plea agreement and Williams has failed to allege any facts sufficient to warrant overturning his guilty plea and sentence.

In conclusion, I find that Williams has failed to raise a claim for which relief can be granted. Furthermore, he has not met the procedural requirements of Rule 61 by his complete failure to have alleged any cause or prejudice for failing to raise his claim sooner. Therefore, I recommend the Court deny Williams' motion as meritless and procedurally barred by Rule 61(i)(3).


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