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State v. Miller

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

July 25, 2013

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
SYLVESTER MILLER, Defendant.

Submitted: April 4, 2013

On Defendant's Second Motion for Postconviction Relief – DENIED

Kevin Carroll, Esquire, Department of Justice

Sylvester Miller, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center Pro Se Defendant.

ORDER

William C. Carpenter, Jr., Judge

On this 25th day of July 2013, upon consideration of Defendant's Pro Se Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:

1. On April 1, 2013, Sylvester Miller ("Miller") filed a Pro Se Motion for Postconviction Relief, his second, pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61"). In this Motion, Miller raises the following grounds for relief: 1) ineffective assistance of counsel at pretrial, trial, sentencing, and on appeal, which violated his constitutional rights under both state and federal law; 2) false and defective, multiplicative indictment counts, which violated his double jeopardy rights under both state and federal law; and 3) the trial court's wrongful admission of statements made by his ex-wife. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Second Motion for Postconviction Relief is DENIED.

2. Following a jury trial, Miller was found guilty on March 28, 2005 of six (6) counts of First Degree Rape and one (1) count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. On June 17, 2005, Miller was sentenced to a mandatory term of fifteen (15) years imprisonment for each count of Rape, and two (2) years imprisonment, followed by a period of probation supervision for the count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. Additionally, two (2) days prior to Miller's sentencing, Miller filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, requesting the Court to appoint different counsel to pursue his appeal. This Court issued a letter on July 26, 2005, denying Miller's request for appointed counsel and explaining that any claim for ineffective assistance of counsel could not be addressed on direct appeal of his conviction.

3. Miller's conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal to the Supreme Court in March 2006. Subsequently, Miller filed his first Motion for Postconviction Relief on July 11, 2006.

4. On January 31, 2007, Miller again filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, which this Court denied due to Miller's failure to set forth good cause in support of his request. On October 29, 2007, Miller's first Motion for Postconviction Relief was denied by this Court. Additionally, on November 6, 2007, this Court denied Miller's Motion to Dismiss the indictment. On March 28, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed this Court's judgment.

5. On April 1, 2013, nearly eight (8) years after his conviction, Miller filed the motion presently before the Court. Prior to addressing the merits of any postconviction claim, the Court must determine whether the procedural requirements of Rule 61 have been met.[1] Specifically, any ground for relief raised by the Defendant that was not raised at trial or on direct appeal is procedurally barred, unless the Defendant shows both cause for relief and prejudice from a violation of his rights.[2] Additionally, any grounds for relief previously adjudicated, including those adjudicated in "the proceedings leading to the judgment of conviction, in an appeal, in a postconviction proceeding, or in a federal habeas corpus proceeding, " are barred unless "reconsideration of the claim is warranted in the interest of justice."[3]

A. Procedurally Barred Claims

6. In his second Motion for Postconviction Relief, Miller asserts similar—if not identical—claims as he did on his first Motion for Postconviction Relief, which included: constitutional violations, juror issues, prosecutorial misconduct, indictment issues, and witness credibility and perjured testimony. The Court again finds that these claims are procedurally barred because they were either not raised on direct appeal or were previously adjudicated on Miller's first Motion for Postconviction Relief. Despite this ...


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