John A. Parkins, Jr. Superior Court Judge
1. Defendant entered a guilty plea to four counts of Robbery in the First Degree and one count of Burglary in the Second Degree, and he was sentenced in June, 2013 to 25 years at Level 5 followed by probation. A year and a half after he was sentenced Defendant apparently had second thoughts and he now seeks to withdraw his guilty plea. This is the court's ruling on that application.
2. Motions to withdraw guilty pleas after sentencing must be brought pursuant to Criminal Rule 61. As in all other Rule 61 motions, this court is required to determine whether it is procedurally barred before reaching the merits.
3. Defendant's motion is procedurally barred. Rule 61(i)(1) provides:
A motion for postconviction relief may not be filed more than one year after the judgment of conviction is final or, if it asserts a retroactively applicable right that is newly recognized after the judgment of conviction is final, more than one year after the right is first recognized by the Supreme Court of Delaware or by the United States Supreme Court.
Defendant does not satisfy the exception to Rule 61(i)(1) imbedded within that rule because he does not allege the existence of a newly recognized retroactive right. He must find any relief to the procedural bar, therefore, in the catchall exception in Rule 61(i)(5).
4. The catchall provision in Rule 61(i)(5) excuses a procedural default if the defendant's claim "satisfies the pleading requirements of subparagraphs (2)(i) or 2(ii) of subdivision of this rule." The pertinent subparagraphs of subdivision 2 excuse a procedural default if the defendant:
(i) pleads 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; or
(ii) pleads with particularity a claim that a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the United States Supreme Court or the Delaware Supreme Court, applies to the movant's case and renders the conviction or death sentence invalid.
As stated earlier, Defendant does not plead a new rule of constitutional law which has been made retroactive, and therefore he cannot satisfy subparagraph (ii).
5. Turning to subparagraph (i), Defendant has not pleaded any new evidence that "creates a strong inference that [he] is actually innocent." His guilty plea effectively forecloses such a showing here. His plea to Count 36 (Robbery in the First Degree) illustrates this. After the charges in count 36 were summarized for Defendant, the court asked him "How do you plead to this: guilty or not guilty?" whereupon Defendant responded "Guilty." The court then satisfied itself that the defendant had in fact committed the offense:
THE COURT: And is it true, sir, that on or about March the 26th of 2012 in this county you held up Khawaja Butt?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: And that you took money; is it Ms. ...