October 9, 2013
STATE OF DELAWARE
DAMION T. NEAL, Defendant.
Submitted: October 7, 2013
RK08-12-0144-01 Murder 1st (F) RK08-12-0145-01 Murder 2nd (F)
Upon Consideration of Defendant's Second Motion For Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 DENIED
Dennis Kelleher, Esq., and Susan G. Schmidhauser, Esq., Deputy Attorneys General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.
Damion T. Neal, Pro se.
Robert B. Young, Judge
Upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief, the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation and the record in this case, it appears that:
1. The Defendant, Damion T. Neal ("Neal"), pled guilty on March 10, 2010, to one count of Murder in the First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 636, and one count of Murder in the Second Degree, 11 Del. C. § 635(1), as a lesser included offense of Murder in the First Degree. The State entered a nolle prosequis on the remaining charges of two counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, one count of Theft of a Firearm, one count of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, one count of Harassment, and one count of Criminal Mischief. The Defendant was immediately sentenced in accordance with the Plea Agreement to life in prison on the Murder First Degree charge and to twenty-five years at Level V.
2. The Defendant did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court; instead he filed, pro se, the pending Motion for Postconviction Relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. In his motion the defendant raises the following grounds for relief: 1) Clients reliance on Counsel; 2) Counsel coerced defendant; and 3) Ineffective assistance (duty to obtain information to craft competent advice).
3. On April 20, 2012, Neal filed an "amendment" to his Rule 61 motion. It supplements his arguments for ground 3 above. In summary, Neal asserts that his counsel did not adhere to "norms" in pretrial discovery procedure in a death penalty case.
4. The Court referred this motion to Superior Court Commissioner Andrea M. Freud pursuant to 10 Del. C. §512(b) and Superior Court Criminal Rule 62 for proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law.
5.The Commissioner has filed a Report and Recommendation concluding that the Motion For Postconviction Relief should be denied, because it is procedurally barred and totally meritless.
6.Defendant filed his Appeal from the Commissioners findings and a Motion for Reconsideration in the Interests of Finality and Justice on June 21, 2013.
7. The State responded.
NOW, THEREFORE, after de novo review of the record in this action, and for reasons stated in the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation dated January 31, 2013,
IT IS ORDERED that the Commissioner's Report and Recommendation is adopted by the Court, and the Defendant's Second Motion for Postconviction Relief is DENIED.