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State v. Stallings

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

August 25, 2014

State
v.
Vincent Stallings

Upon Defendant's Motion To Withdraw Guilty Plea – DENIED without prejudice.

Anthony A. Figliola, Jr., Esquire

Kevin P. Tray, Esquire

Ipek Medford, Deputy Attorney General

Matthew Frawley, Deputy Attorney General

Dear Messrs. Figliola and Tray:

This decides your August 13, 2014 motion filed at Defendant's insistence, and Defendant's August 20, 2014, pro se submissions. Technically, Superior Court Criminal Rule 47 frowns on the court's addressing pro se filings from represented defendants. But, the submissions suggest it is better not to ignore Mr. Stallings's DIY filing.

The court will only require the State to defend the June 20, 2014 guilty plea if Defendant makes a threshold showing that his motion is reasonable. As it stands, the motion is almost entirely conclusory, unhelpful, and subject to dismissal. Forcing the State to respond now would be an unproductive use of the Attorney General's time.

I.

Counsel's motion offers two things bearing on Defendant's guilty plea. First, it mentions, in passing, that one of the several people who would have corroborated the incriminating surveillance video and other evidence against Defendant has developed a mental health problem. Defendant, however, does not explain how, even in theory, that undermines Defendant's guilty plea. Nor does it address the other evidence against Defendant, such as video tapes.

Defendant's other claim through counsel is, in toto:
[E]ven though he completed the TIS Form and answered the colloquy, that he in fact understood the rights he was giving up, he alleges that he was frightened and had insufficient time to consider the appeal and post conviction rights he was relinquishing. He adhered to the wishes of his family and the advise(sic) of counsel, not fully appreciating the relinquishment of his rights. Stalling's (sic) claims that upon returning to Prison he was able to reflect on what he had done and realized he made a grave error in pleading guilty and giving up his rights to appeal.

The court's recollection is that Defendant had considerable time to consider whether he would plead guilty. He was indicted in December 2012. Moreover, he was not a first offender, so even before he carefully reviewed the plea paperwork with counsel here and was exhaustively questioned by the court about his guilt, his satisfaction with counsel, and the plea's consequences, he was generally familiar with the guilty plea process and the rights one gives up by pleading guilty.

If Defendant can explain what he means when he now says he was "frightened" and he had insufficient time, and if he explains why, as he now implies, he lied repeatedly to the court about his actual guilt and his satisfaction with counsel, the court will call for the State's response. And, that might lead to an evidentiary ...


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