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Evans v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

April 11, 2017

WARD T. EVANS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: April 7, 2017

         Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No. 88K01678DI

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

          ORDER

          COLLINS J. SEITZ, JR. JUSTICE

         This 11th day of April 2017, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) Following his 1982 conviction in the Superior Court on one count of Rape in the First Degree, the appellant, Ward T. Evans, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. In 1984, the conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal.[1] Since then, Evans has challenged his conviction and sentence in nearly two dozen unsuccessful state and federal court applications.

         (2) Last year, Evans appealed the Superior Court's dismissal of his petition for a writ of mandamus, which sought good time credits applied to his life sentence, and his immediate release from custody. By Order dated August 31, 2016, we concluded that the appeal was frivolous and affirmed the Superior Court's dismissal of the petition.[2]

         (3) Undaunted, Evans then filed a motion for correction of sentence, which sought his immediate release from custody on the basis that his life sentence is illegal because it does not specify an ending date as required by statute. This appeal is from the Superior Court's denial of that motion.

         (4) In an Order issued more than a quarter century ago, this Court enjoined Evans from filing "further postconviction applications . . . in regard to his conviction and/or sentencing . . . in the Delaware Supreme Court without a Justice of this Court first determining that the proposed application is neither repetitious nor frivolous."[3] Having now applied the dictates of that Order and conducted a preliminary review of this appeal, the Court concludes that the appeal is legally frivolous and is not approved for filing.[4] The claim underlying the appeal-that a life sentence is illegal because it does not specify an ending date-has been raised and rejected in other appeals and is indisputably without merit.[5]

         (5) Evans' filing of a frivolous appeal constitutes an abuse of the judicial process. In the future, unless leave is granted by the Court, Evans is enjoined from proceeding on any claim related to his conviction and sentence. Moreover, any request by Evans to invoke the Court's appellate or original jurisdiction in any matter concerning his conviction and sentence must be accompanied by a sworn affidavit containing the certifications required by 10 Del. C. § 8803(e).[6]

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Evans' appeal papers are STRICKEN, and this matter is summarily DISMISSED. Evans is ENJOINED under 10 Del. C. § 8803 and this Order from filing a future notice of appeal or extraordinary writ concerning his conviction and sentence without first obtaining the Court's permission.

---------

Notes:

[1] Evans v. State, 1984 WL 180811 (Del. June 21, ...


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