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State v. West

Superior Court of Delaware, Sussex

December 16, 2014

State
v.
Gavin M. West

Dear Mr. West:

On December 1, 2014 the Defendant filed a Motion for Postconviction Relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61"). The Defendant states the following:

Ground one: Violation of Constitutional rights-violation that undermined the fundamental legality, reliability, integrity, or fairness of the proceeding leading the judgment of conviction.
Ground two: admissible evidence - not having the correct evidence to convict.
Ground three: insufficient counsel - not doing a proper job.

The Defendant's Motion is summarily dismissed for the following reasons:

(a) Defendant seeks to vacate a guilty plea entered February 1, 2011 to trafficking in MDMA and maintaining a vehicle. The grounds in the Defendant's Motion are conclusory. Concrete allegations are necessary for the Court to entertain a Rule 61 motion. Defendant has not stated any facts or statements that could show Defend ant's constitutional rights were violat ed. He only vaguely states that they were violated. Therefore the Motion should be dismissed.[1]

(b) To the extent the Defendant is attempting to raise the problems at the Office of the Medical Examiner ("O.M.E.") as a basis for Rule 61 relief, this claim is also dismissed. A review of the probable cause affidavit in the file includes a Mirandized statement by the Defendant that he had gotten a ride in order to sell forty-seven (47) "E" pills known as ecstacy. Subsequently, on February 1, 2011, the Defendant pled guilty to trafficking MDMA and maintaining a vehicle. In other words, the Defendant admitted he was in the MDMA business. Absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, the Defendant is bound by his statements made at his guilty plea.[2] The Defendant has offered no clear and convincing evidence rebutting the facts he stated were true during his guilty plea.

(c) A multi-day evidentiary hearing took place in New Castle County to determine the "damage" done to the State's ability to proceed with pending cases where the drug evidence passed through the O.M.E. The State has brought charges against persons in the chain of custody in many of the pending cases. The Court ruled that there was evidence of pilfering or stealing of drugs by a person or persons for their own use. There was no evidence of "planting" drugs to get a false conviction. There was no evidence that any actual chemical analysis by the chemist was false.[3]Nor does the Court find any Brady[4] issues arising from the State's failure to provide the potential impeaching evidence in the chain of custody because the O.M.E. scandal was not known until January, 2014. Finally, based upon Judge William Carpenter's findings in Irwin, the Court does not find the pilfering by a chain of custody O.M.E. employee to rise to the egregious conduct that would cause the Defendant's plea to have been involuntarily entered.[5]

Therefore, the Defendant has offered no grounds to vacate his guilty plea and his Motion for Postconviction Relief is summarily dismissed.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

T. Henley Graves


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