Submitted: February 27, 2014
Sonia Augusthy, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.
Anthony A. Figliola, Esquire, Figliola & Facciolo, Attorney for Defendant Andre Peters.
COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE DENIED AND COUNSEL'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW SHOULD BE GRANTED.
Commissioner Lynne M. Parker, Judge
This 18th day of March, 2014, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief and Defendant's Rule 61 Counsel's Motion to Withdraw, it appears to the Court that:
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1. Defendant Andre C. Peters was indicted on three counts of Robbery in the First Degree, one count of Burglary in the First Degree, four counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and one count of Conspiracy in the Second Degree.
2. Following a Superior Court jury trial, on March 17, 2011, Defendant Peters was found guilty on all the counts of the indictment. On July 15, 2011, Defendant was sentenced to 30 years at Level V, suspended after the minimum mandatory period of 23 years, followed by probation.
3. Defendant filed a direct appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. On direct appeal, Defendant's counsel filed a brief and a motion to withdraw pursuant to Supreme Court Criminal Rule 26 (c). On December 13, 2011, the Delaware Supreme Court found Defendant's claims to be without merit and affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Superior Court.
4. The charges stemmed from a home invasion robbery committed in the late evening of July 21, 2010. Three armed men forcibly entered a dwelling in which three adults and three young children were residing. The intruders demanded money and drugs. One of the intruders threatened to shoot all of the occupants including the children. The intruders stole money, cell phones and prescription narcotics.
5. The victims were able to identify one of the intruders as a friend named Christopher Crawford. Crawford was arrested on July 23, 2010 and in his first post-Miranda interview denied any involvement in the crime. During his second interview, he admitted his involvement and stated that an individual named "Dre" was also involved.
6. Co-defendant Crawford advised that after the home invasion, they rented a room at an Econo-Lodge on Route 13 and that the individual named "Dre" signed the room registration.
7. The police went to the Econo-Lodge and obtained the room registration evidencing that Andre Peters rented a room at 12:50 a.m. on July 22, 2010. Crawford identified Defendant Andre Peters from a photo array as the individual who had the gun during the home invasion.
8. One of the adult victims identified Defendant Peters from a photo-array as the intruder who put the gun to his head.
9. At trial, the State presented the three adult victims, all of whom identified Defendant Andre Peters as the intruder with the gun.
10. On December 28, 2010, Co-Defendant Crawford pled guilty to Robbery in the First Degree and Burglary in the First Degree. The terms of his plea agreement required him to testify and cooperate with the State. On the eve of trial, Co-Defendant Crawford gave his third statement to the police. Crawford again implicated Defendant Peters as participating in the home invasion and possessing a gun during the crime.
RULE 61 MOTION AND COUNSEL'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW
11. January 7, 2013, Defendant filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief along with a supporting memorandum of law. Thereafter, Defendant filed an amended motion. Before making a recommendation, the record was enlarged and Defendant's trial counsel was directed to submit an Affidavit responding to Defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. In turn, the State was also directed to, and did, file a response to the motion.
12. After the submissions had been received by Defendant's trial counsel and the State, Defendant Peters requested counsel to assist him on his Rule 61 motion. The court granted Defendant Peters' motion for the appointment of counsel.
13. On January 30, 2014, assigned Rule 61 counsel filed a Motion to Withdraw as Postconviction Counsel pursuant to ...