Submitted: March 24, 2014
Upon Commissioner's Report and Recommendation that Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Be DENIED.
Caterina Gatto, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.
Michael C. Heyden, Esquire, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant Jamaien Monroe.
Richard R. Cooch, R.J.
Defendant Jamaien Monroe ("Defendant") has filed a Motion for Postconviction Relief, stemming from his conviction of non-capital Murder First Degree and related charges in the shooting death of Andre "Gus" Ferrell ("Ferrell"). His motion follows the affirmance of his conviction on direct appeal to the Supreme Court of Delaware. The motion is based on three claims of ineffective assistance of counsel:
1. "Counsel was ineffective by failing to renew the motion to exclude the testimony of Jonathan Wisher and Ronald Wright, sever the charges or exclude evidence concerning an uncharged robbery."
2. "Trial counsel was ineffective by failing to request a mistrial after the State's witness [Kason Wright] invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify."
3. Trial counsel was ineffective by failing to request a mistrial after a previously undiscovered store receipt was found in the pockets of a jacket being examined by the jury as evidence during deliberations.
Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 62, after careful and de novo review of the record in this action, and for the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's Report, including its Recommendation, is ACCEPTED by the Court. Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief is hereby DENIED.
As was done in this Court's May 14, 2010 opinion denying Defendant's Motion for a New Trial in this case, Defendant's first claim will again be analyzed both pursuant to 1) the "sufficient evidence" standard utilized in the federal courts and regularly in numerous other jurisdictions (an issue of apparent first impression in this state) and 2) the "plain, clear and conclusive" standard utilized in Delaware courts.
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND RELATED FACTS
The Commissioner's Report and Recommendation set forth the procedural history of this case:
On November 14, 2007, Defendant Jamaien Monroe was indicted on charges stemming from two separate shootings involving the same victim, [Ferrell]. Defendant Monroe was charged with attempted murder first degree and firearms offenses related to the first shooting of Ferrell on January 26, 2006. Defendant Monroe was also indicted on murder first degree, firearms offenses, and multiple counts of reckless endangering first degree and endangering the welfare of a child arising from the April 2, 2007 shooting that killed Ferrell. […]
In the subject action, […]the conflict between the victim Ferrell and Defendant Monroe began with an uncharged attempted robbery of Ferrell by Defendant Monroe on January 25, 2006. It then continued with the attempted murder of Ferrell by Defendant Monroe the next day, January 26, 2006. It then ended fifteen ...