Submitted March 20, 2015.
Case Closed July 8, 2015
This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.
Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. Cr. ID 1005016313.
Before STRINE, Chief Justice; HOLLAND and VAUGHN, Justices.
Leo E. Strine, Jr., Chief Justice.
This 21st day of May 2015, upon consideration of the parties' briefs, their supplemental memoranda, and the record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:
(1) The appellant, Denny Carrero, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's summary dismissal of his second motion for postconviction relief. The case was scheduled to be considered by the Court on the basis of the briefs on September 26, 2014. On October 22, however, the Court stayed the appeal pending the outcome of another case before this Court, Brown v. State (No. 178, 2014). This Court issued its opinion in Brown on January 23, 2015. The parties were directed to file supplemental memoranda addressing the applicability of Brown to this case. After careful consideration of the parties' briefs and supplemental memoranda, we conclude that Carrero's knowing and voluntary guilty plea bars the claims he now raises. Accordingly, we affirm the Superior Court's judgment.
(2) The record reflects that Carrero pled guilty on November 30, 2010, to one count of Trafficking in Cocaine (> 100 grams) and one count of the lesser included offense of Trafficking in Cocaine (10-50 grams). The Superior Court immediately sentenced Carrero to a total period of twenty years at Level V incarceration, to be suspended after ten years for six months at Level IV followed by eighteen months at Level III probation. Carrero did not file a direct appeal.
(3) Instead, on December 30, 2010, Carrero filed a motion for postconviction relief. On January 6, 2011, he also filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. On February 11, he filed a motion for modification of sentence, which the Superior Court denied on February 22. After receiving defense counsel's affidavit and Carrero's response, the Superior Court denied Carrero's motion for postconviction relief and his motion to withdraw his guilty plea in an opinion dated June 23. Carrero did not appeal.
(4) In March 2013, Carrero filed a second motion for modification of sentence, which the Superior Court denied, as well as a second motion for postconviction relief. Carrero raised two claims in his second postconviction motion. First, he argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the drug evidence because the police officers' search of his car and house was illegal. Second, he argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to argue the suppression motion successfully. The Superior Court held that Carrero's claims were adjudicated previously in his first postconviction proceeding and that the interests of justice did not require reconsideration of these claims. This appeal followed.
(5) Carrero asserts four interrelated claims in his opening brief on appeal. Essentially, he contends that the police conducted an illegal search of his vehicle and home and that both defense counsel and the prosecutor coerced him into pleading guilty after the Superior Court erroneously denied his suppression motion.
(6) Before Carrero filed his opening brief, the State informed this Court that two individuals employed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (" OCME" ), who were in the chain of custody for the drug evidence in Carrero's case, had been indicted on charges arising from a criminal investigation into evidence tampering. The State further informed this Court that it had no evidence that the drugs in Carrero's case had been compromised. In light of this new information, the Court stayed ...