Submitted: November 18, 2014
On Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief. SUMMARILY DISMISSED.
Victoria Witherell, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State
Robert J. Hohn III, Wilmington, Delaware, pro se
Richard R. Cooch, R.J.
This 21st day of January, 2015, upon consideration of Defendant's First Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:
1. Defendant Robert J. Hohn III pled guilty in September 2013 to Assault in the Second Degree and Misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Defendant was then sentenced to a total of nine years years at Level V, suspended after six years and one month for two years at Level IV, suspended after six months for two years and eleven months are Level III probation. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence on appeal.
2. Defendant filed the instant motion on November 13, 2014. Defendant asserts three grounds for relief in his motion, all of which are listed here in toto:
(1) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel – "Counsel did not make full magnitude of plea known and thus involuntary. Counsel did not make mention of Bench Trial. Counsel did not file for suppression of evidence. Counsel did not fully explain my rights. Counsel ignored important evidence in favor of defen[s]e. Counsel refused to present counter plea offer. Counsel did not state or explain plea was an open plea. Counsel did not request supporting evidence from co-defendant's counsel. Counsel refused request for trial."
(2) Coercion of Guilty Plea – "Counsel refused to go to trial ("I think you are going to have to take this plea."). Counsel used fear tactics ("look at all the time you face if you lose."). Counsel used co-defendant as leverage ("Shannon has already signed her plea and wants you to sign yours.").
(3) Unfulfilled Plea Agreement – "Counsel stressed repedativly [sic] the presumptive sentencing guidelines. Counsel gave false hope of time served ("I don't see you doing any more time."). Counsel stressed favorable results if trial was waived. Counsel stressed leanency for not making the victim take the witness stand. Counsel stressed favorable outcome for a first offen[s]e with no prior history."
3. Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief is controlled by the recently amended Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. Under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(i), a Motion for Postconviction Relief can be potentially procedurally barred for time limitations, successive motions, procedural defaults, and former adjudications. Before addressing the merits of this Motion for Postconviction Relief, the Court must address any procedural requirements of Rule 61(i).
4. Rule 61(i)(1) provides that a motion exceeds time limitations if it is filed more than one year after the conviction is finalized, or if the motion asserts a newly recognized, retroactively applied right more than one year after it is first recognized.
5. Rule 61(i)(2) provides that a motion is successive if it is the second or subsequent motion made under this Rule, and such successive motions are prohibited unless the pleading ...