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Anderson v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

January 20, 2017

LESTER F. ANDERSON, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: December 5, 2016

         Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No. 30109009DI

          Before STRINE, Chief Justice; HOLLAND, and VALIHURA, Justices.

          ORDER

          Randy J. Holland Justice.

         This 20th day of January 2017, upon consideration of the appellant's opening brief, the State's motion to affirm, and the record below, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) The appellant, Lester F. Anderson, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's denial of his motion for review of his case. The State of Delaware has filed a motion to affirm the judgment below on the ground that it is manifest on the face of Anderson's opening brief that his appeal is without merit. We agree and affirm.

         (2) The record reflects that a Superior Court jury found Anderson guilty of Murder in the First Degree in February 1992. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. This Court affirmed Anderson's conviction on direct appeal.[1] In 2013, this Court denied Anderson's fourth motion for postconviction relief.[2]

         (3) In August 2016, Anderson filed a motion for review of his case. The Superior Court treated the motion as a motion for sentence reduction under Superior Court Criminal Rule 35 and denied it. This appeal followed.

         (4) In his opening brief, Anderson argues, as he did below, that he was deprived of his right to call an expert witness at trial to support his affirmative defense of self-defense. To the extent Anderson challenges his conviction, Rule 61, not Rule 35, is the exclusive remedy for a person seeking to set aside a judgment of conviction[3] and Anderson has failed to satisfy the Rule 61(d)(2) procedural bars.[4]To the extent Anderson seeks to reduce his sentence, the Superior Court correctly recognized that it had no authority to reduce his mandatory life sentence.[5]

         (5) Anderson also claims that the Superior Court erred in not giving a deadly weapon charge to the jury. Anderson did not raise this claim in the Superior Court and we will not consider it for the first time on appeal.[6] Having carefully considered the parties' positions, we conclude that the Superior Court did not err in denying Anderson's motion.

         (6) We note that Anderson unsuccessfully argued the Superior Court erred in not allowing him to call an expert witness in his direct appeal.[7] We also note that Anderson has filed multiple, unsuccessful motions for postconviction relief.[8] We will not continue to invest scarce judicial resources to address untimely and repetitive claims. We encourage the appellant to be mindful of Rule 61(j).[9]

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the motion to affirm is GRANTED.

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