Submitted February 14, 2014.
Motion for Rehearing filed 4/24/14; Denied 4/29/14. Case Closed May 1, 2014.
This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.
Court Below--Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. Cr. ID No. 0612022950.
Before HOLLAND, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.
Randy J. Holland, Justice.
This 15th day of April 2014, after careful consideration of the parties' briefs and the Superior Court record, it appears to the Court that:
(1) In January 2007, the appellant, Ryeki Stewart, was charged in a four count indictment with Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Maintaining a Vehicle, and Resisting Arrest. In April 2007, Stewart filed a motion to suppress the evidence. After the Superior Court held a hearing and denied the suppression motion, the parties agreed to a stipulated bench trial to preserve Stewart's right to appeal the denial of the motion (hereinafter " the agreement" ). The agreement provided that, in exchange for Stewart's stipulation to an agreed-upon set of facts and his waiver of his right to a trial by jury, to question and cross-examine witnesses, and to testify or not, the State agreed to limit its sentencing recommendation, for all charges, to a mandatory term of eight years at Level V.
(2) At the stipulated bench trial on June 19, 2007, the Superior Court found Stewart guilty as charged and sentenced him to eight years mandatory at Level V imprisonment followed by four years of probation. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment.
(3) On April 16, 2008, Stewart, with the assistance of new counsel, filed his first motion for postconviction relief under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61" ). Stewart alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective when he did not move to dismiss the drug charges and did not argue at the suppression hearing that the police had failed to corroborate an informant's tip. After considering the merit of the claims, the Superior Court denied the motion on September 24, 2008. On appeal this Court affirmed.
(4) On June 22, 2010, Stewart, appearing pro se, filed his second motion for postconviction relief. In his second motion, Stewart alleged " denial of counsel" on the grounds that his trial counsel failed to inform him of a plea offer to four years (hereinafter " plea offer claim" ) and failed to challenge the medical examiner's report. Stewart further alleged that he did not understand the rights he was waiving when he signed the agreement to a stipulated bench trial, and that the Superior Court should have conducted a colloquy prior to trial to ensure that he understood the agreement (hereinafter " waiver claim" ). After applying the Rule 61 procedural bars to Stewart's second postconviction motion, the Superior Court, in a decision dated July 27, 2010, denied the motion as untimely, repetitive, and formerly adjudicated. Stewart did not file an appeal.
(5) On March 19, 2013, Stewart filed his third motion for postconviction relief. In that motion as amended, Stewart raised expanded versions of his plea offer claim and waiver claim. By order dated July 25, 2013, the Superior Court denied the motion after determining that the ...