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State v. Anderson

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

January 6, 2015

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
HARRY ANDERSON, Defendant.

Submitted: October 10, 2014, November 3, 2014

Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief: DENIED

Upon Defendant's Motion for Appointment of Postconviction Counsel DENIED

ANDREA L. ROCANELLI JUDGE

In 2012, Defendant Harry W. Anderson was arrested and indicted on multiple counts of Felony Theft, Burglary Third Degree, and Criminal Mischief. On January 24, 2013, Defendant pled guilty to two counts of Burglary Third Degree. As part of the plea agreement, the State filed a motion to sentence Defendant as a habitual offender pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4214(a) with respect to one of the two counts of Burglary Third Degree.

After pleading guilty but before he was sentenced, Defendant filed a series of unsuccessful motions and letters, as a self-represented litigant, requesting dismissal of the Superior Court charges against him.[1] At Defendant's sentencing hearing on September 20, 2013, the Court heard oral argument on Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Defendant stated that he entered the guilty plea under duress on the grounds that Defendant's Trial Counsel refused to file a motion to suppress and because Defendant's Trial Counsel had a conflict of interest. The Superior Court denied Defendant's motion, finding that Defendant entered a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary guilty plea.[2]

The Court sentenced Defendant as a habitual offender on one of the two counts of Burglary Third Degree, to six years at Level V. As to the second count of Burglary Third Degree, the Court sentenced Defendant to three years at Level V, suspended for 18 months at Level III. After sentencing, Defendant appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court as a self-represented litigant.[3] The Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed.[4]

Defendant filed this motion for postconviction relief on October 10, 2014. Defendant asserts the following grounds for relief: (1) Defendant's guilty plea was coerced; (2) Defendant's Trial Counsel had a conflict of interest representing Defendant; and (3) ineffective assistance of counsel.[5] Additionally, Defendant filed this motion for appointment of postconviction counsel.

Upon consideration of Defendant's motions, the Court finds as follows:

1. The recently amended Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 controls Defendant's motion for postconviction relief and Defendant's motion for appointment of postconviction counsel.[6]
2. Before addressing the merits of a motion for postconviction relief, the Court must consider the procedural requirements of Rule 61(i).[7]
3. A motion is procedurally sufficient for consideration on the merits if it is the defendant's first motion, [8] the motion is timely, [9] and the motion does not assert grounds for relief already adjudicated.[10]
4. If the motion is procedurally defect, the Court may nonetheless consider the merits of the motion if the claims satisfy the pleading standards of Rule 61(d)(2)(i) and (ii).[11] The pleading standard of Rule 61(d)(2)(i) requires that a motion for postconviction relief "[p]leads with particularity that new evidence exists that creates a strong inference that the movant is actually innocent in fact of the acts underlying the charges of which he was convicted." Alternatively, Rule 61(d)(2)(ii) requires that a motion for postconviction relief "[p]leads with particularity a claim that a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the . . . Delaware Supreme Court, applies to the movant's case and renders the conviction . . . invalid."
5. Defendant's motion for postconviction relief asserts formerly adjudicated grounds for relief and, therefore, Defendant's motion is procedurally barred. Pursuant to Rule 61(i)(4), "[a]ny ground for relief that was formerly adjudicated, whether in the proceedings leading to the conviction, in an appeal, in a postconviction ...

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