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Price v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

June 4, 2014

LOU G. PRICE, SR., Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee

Submitted: April 4, 2014.

Case Closed June 12, 2014.

Editorial Note:

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. 0106010693.

Before BERGER, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.

OPINION

Jack B. Jacobs, Justice

ORDER

This 4th day of June 2014, upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:

(1) This appeal is from the Superior Court denials of the appellant's second motion for postconviction relief under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61" ) and his related request for the appointment of counsel. The appellant also appeals the denial of his motion for recusal of the judge (hereinafter " the Judge" ) who presided over his jury trial and first postconviction motion. We find no merit to the appeal and affirm the Superior Court judgments.

(2) It appears from the record that the appellant, Lou G. Price, Sr. (" Price" ), was convicted of Murder in the First Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony in April 2003. On September 12, 2003, the Superior Court sentenced Price to life imprisonment plus twenty years. On direct appeal, we affirmed Price's convictions and sentence.[1]

(3) Price's first motion for postconviction relief, filed on August 12, 2005, was summarily denied by the Superior Court on October 26, 2006. On appeal from that decision, we remanded the case to the Superior Court with instructions to (i) expand the record to include trial counsel's affidavit in response to Price's allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel and (ii) make supplemental findings and conclusions based upon the expanded record. In its order after remand, the Superior Court made supplemental findings based on trial counsel's affidavit and Price's response and concluded that Price's ineffective assistance of counsel claims lacked merit. Thereafter, by order dated March 26, 2009, we affirmed the Superior Court denial of Price's first postconviction motion.[2]

(4) In his second motion for postconviction relief, filed on April 25, 2013, Price argued that, under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Martinez v. Ryan, the Superior Court was required to (i) appoint counsel to assist him in the proceedings and (ii) reevaluate his formerly unsuccessful claims for postconviction relief.[3] In a separate motion, Price sought the Judge's recusal on the basis that the Judge had " a longtime relationship" with Price's spiritual advisor and friend, Pastor Linda Henry. According to Price, Pastor Henry " had promised to persuade" the Judge to provide Price " favorable treatment" under Rule 61.

(5) By order dated July 18, 2013, the Superior Court denied Price's request for appointment of counsel, after determining that neither the Martinez decision nor Rule 61 required the appointment of counsel on a second motion for postconviction relief, and that Price had failed to establish good cause for such an appointment.[4] By order dated August 16, 2013, the Judge denied the motion for ...


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