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Williams v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

January 30, 2015

ROBERT E. WILLIAMS, Defendant-Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff-Below, Appellee

Submitted January 21, 2015

Case Closed February 18, 2015.

Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. I.D. #1007021554.

AFFIRMED.

Natalie S. Woloshin, Esquire, Woloshin Lynch Natalie & Gagne, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellant.

Karen V. Sullivan, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellee.

Before STRINE, Chief Justice; RIDGELY and VAUGHN, Justices.

OPINION

Page 551

STRINE, Chief Justice.

Robert E. Williams was convicted of two counts of robbery in the first degree, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of conspiracy in the second degree, and one count of assault in the third degree. He was sentenced to twenty-two years at Level V incarceration, followed by probation. He now appeals from a Superior Court order denying his motion for postconviction relief, and claims that the trial court abused its discretion for two reasons.

First, Williams claims that the trial court should have found that his trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to file a motion to suppress a statement that Williams made to the New Castle County police approximately fifteen hours after he was taken into custody. As to that point, we agree with the Superior Court's well-reasoned order that the period of time that elapsed was not an " unreasonable delay" that would trigger an automatic finding of legal involuntariness,[1] and therefore, Williams did not satisfy his burden to show that his trial counsel's failure to file a motion to suppress prejudiced him under Strickland v. Washington.[2]

Williams' second argument is that the trial court should have determined that his trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to investigate and present readily available mitigating evidence at Williams' sentencing hearing. We agree with the Superior Court's thorough decision finding that Williams did not establish prejudice under Strickland .[3]

Because of Williams' novel contention that his counsel was ineffective for failing to hire a mitigation investigator in a non-capital case, it is useful to explain why we affirm. Given the seriousness of Williams' criminal record, the chances he had to get on the right track, and the pre-sentence report that detailed his difficult childhood and the fact that his parents were poor role models, there is ...


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