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Krafchick v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 28, 2014

STEVEN W. KRAFCHICK, Defendant Below-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below-Appellee

Submitted July 18, 2014

Case Closed September 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 New Castle County. Cr. ID No. 0101010946.

Before HOLLAND, RIDGELY, and VALIHURA, Justices.

ORDER

Randy J. Holland, Justice

This 28th day of August 2014, upon consideration of the appellant's opening brief, the appellee's motion to affirm, and the record below, it appears to the Court that:

(1) The appellant, Steven W. Krafchick, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's denial of his third 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 Krafchick's opening brief that his appeal is without merit.[1] We agree and affirm.

(2) The record reflects that, in 2001, Krafchick was indicted for Murder in the First Degree and other offenses arising out of the stabbing death of his wife. Trial began on February 5, 2002. On February 13, 2002, Krafchick accepted a guilty plea for Murder in the Second Degree and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony. In presenting the plea agreement to the Superior Court, Krafchick's counsel stated that the defense had requested the plea several weeks earlier, the State offered the plea that morning, and Krafchick had discussed the plea with his counsel. Krafchick stated under oath that he had fully discussed the plea agreement with his counsel. After accepting Krafchick's guilty plea, the Superior Court immediately sentenced Krafchick to forty years of Level 5 incarceration, followed by probation.

(3) Krafchick filed a direct appeal to this Court, which remanded the matter for the Superior Court to set forth its reasons for imposing a sentence that exceeded Delaware Sentencing Accountability Commission Guidelines. The Superior Court set forth its reasons for the sentence and this Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment on May 8, 2003.[2]

(4) Krafchick filed his first motion for postconviction relief on May 7, 2004 and amended that motion on July 2, 2004. Krafchick raised ineffective assistance of counsel claims, including a claim that the ineffectiveness of his counsel made it impossible for him to have time to consider and understand the plea offer he accepted. In the affidavit submitted in response to the motion, Krafchick's counsel stated that the State offered the plea the day before it was entered. The State's opposition to Krafchick's postconviction motion indicated that the State recalled offering the plea the day before it was entered. In his reply to the State's opposition, Krafchick pointed out the discrepancy between the plea/sentencing hearing, at which Krafchick's counsel indicated that the plea was offered that morning, and the affidavit of Krafchick's counsel, which stated that the plea was offered the day before the plea/sentencing hearing. The Superior Court considered the merits of Krafchick's ineffective assistance of counsel claims, concluded that he had not met the Strickland v. Washington [3] standard, and denied his motion for postconviction relief.[4] This Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment.[5]

(5) On March 22, 2006, Krafchick filed his second motion for postconviction relief. The Superior Court found that Krafchick's claims were procedurally barred under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61" ) and that Krafchick had not overcome the procedural hurdles. This Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court.[6] On August 10, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware denied Krafchick's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.[7]

(6) On August 28, 2013, Krafchick filed a motion for appointment of counsel and his third motion for postconviction relief. Krafchick claimed he overcame the Rule 61 procedural bars because he was denied counsel in his first postconviction proceedings and had raised a colorable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in those proceedings. The Superior Court denied Krafchick's motion for appointment of counsel on December 13, 2013. On May 1, 2014, the Superior Court found ...


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