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Deputy v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

July 14, 2014

KENNETH T. DEPUTY, Defendant-Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff-Below, Appellee

Submitted June 11, 2014

Motion for Reargument filed July 22, 2014; Denied August 15, 2014. Case Closed August 15, 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 Kent County. Cr. ID 9612008864.

Before STRINE, Chief Justice, HOLLAND, and BERGER, Justices.

OPINION

ORDER

Leo E. Strine, Jr.  Chief Justice

This 14th day of July 2014, upon consideration of the opening brief, the appellee's motion to affirm under Supreme Court Rule 25(a), and the record, it appears to the Court that:

(1) The defendant-appellant, Kenneth T. Deputy, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's summary dismissal of his fifth motion for postconviction relief. The State of Delaware has filed a motion to affirm the judgment below on the ground that it is manifest on the face of Deputy's opening brief that his appeal is without merit.[1] We agree and affirm.

(2) In September 1997, Deputy was found guilty by a Superior Court jury of attempted first degree robbery, first degree assault, and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. Deputy was sentenced to twenty-seven years of Level V incarceration, suspended after twenty-two years for decreasing levels of supervision. This Court affirmed Deputy's convictions on direct appeal.[2] Since then, Deputy has filed four unsuccessful motions under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61" )[3] and an unsuccessful habeas corpus petition in federal court.[4]

(3) On September 6, 2013, Deputy filed his fifth motion for postconviction relief with a supporting memorandum of law. Deputy also moved for an evidentiary hearing, appointment of counsel, and transcripts. On April 17, 2014, the Superior Court summarily dismissed Deputy's fifth postconviction motion as barred under Rule 61(i)(1), (i)(2), (i)(3), and (i)(4). The Superior Court denied the motion for an evidentiary hearing and the motion for appointment of counsel as moot and denied the motion for transcripts. This appeal followed.

(4) This Court reviews the Superior Court's denial of postconviction relief for abuse of discretion and questions of law de novo.[5] The Court must consider the procedural requirements of Rule 61 before addressing any substantive issues.[6]

(5) In his fifth postconviction motion and the accompanying memorandum, Deputy claimed: (1) the procedural bars of Rule 61 should not apply because unbriefed points raised by Deputy in connection with his counsel's preparation of a Supreme Court Rule 26(c) (" Rule 26" ) brief should not have been considered on direct appeal; (2) there was misconduct and perjury by the arresting officer; (3) a photo line-up was impermissibly suggestive; (4) the arrest warrant and indictment were defective; (5) the Superior Court should have given a missing evidence instruction after a photo array was lost or destroyed between Deputy's first and second trials; [7] (6) there was insufficient evidence supporting his convictions; (7) there was corruption and misconduct by court officials, police, prosecutors, and public defenders; (8) his trial counsel's filing of a Rule 26(c) brief was improper and unconstitutional; and (9) ineffective assistance of counsel based upon conflicts of interest and the failure to challenge the indictment, move to suppress the photo array, continue challenging the loss of the photo array after the trial court denied defense counsel's motion to dismiss, request a lost evidence instruction, move for judgment of acquittal, and advocate for Deputy at sentencing. Deputy essentially claims that he is entitled to relief in the interests of justice or due to a miscarriage of justice under Rule 61(i)(5).

(6) All of the claims in Deputy's fifth postconviction motion have previously been raised and rejected,[8] and are therefore procedurally barred under Rule 61(i)(4). This Court has also previously found that consideration of Deputy's claims was not warranted in the interest of justice under Rule 61(i)(2) and (i)(4), that there was no evidence of any cause for relief from the procedural default or any prejudice resulting from a violation of Deputy's rights under Rule 61(i)(3), and that there was no evidence the Superior Court lacked jurisdiction or that there was a miscarriage of justice due to a constitutional violation under Rule 61(i)(5).[9] Deputy has not established any reason for a different result here. Deputy's vague references to recent issues with drug evidence at the medical examiner's office (which arose more than a decade after Deputy's non-drug related convictions) and conclusory and unsupported claims of actual innocence do not satisfy the interest of justice exception under Rule 61(i)(2) and (i)(4) or state a colorable claim of a miscarriage of justice under Rule 61(i)(5).[10] Nor does Zebroski v. State,[11] in which this Court remanded the Superior Court's dismissal of a second postconviction motion in a death penalty case because the Superior Court had not addressed the interest of justice or miscarriage of justice exceptions, dictate a different result. Unlike the claims in Zebroski, Deputy's claims have been rejected numerous times and this Court has previously found reconsideration of his claims unwarranted under the Rule 61 interest of justice and miscarriage of justice exceptions.

(7) In light of this record, the Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Deputy's fifth postconviction motion as procedurally barred, denying his motions for appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing as moot, and denying his motion for transcripts.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the motion to affirm is GRANTED and the judgment of the Superior Court is AFFIRMED.


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