Submitted: April 27, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VAUGHN, and SEITZ, Justices.
Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice
22nd day of May 2017, it appears to the Court
March 9, 2017, the Court received the appellant's notice
of appeal from the Superior Court's order, docketed on
January 31, 2017, denying the appellant's motion for
correction of sentence. Under Supreme Court Rule 6(a)(iv), a
timely notice of appeal should have been filed on or before
March 2, 2017.
Clerk issued a notice directing the appellant to show cause
why the appeal should not be dismissed as untimely
filed. The appellant filed a response to the
notice to show cause on March 20, 2017. He asserts that his
appeal is untimely because all of his legal papers were
seized as evidence by the State following a hostage situation
that occurred in the prison building in which he is housed,
and he had to wait for the Superior Court to send him
additional copies. He also contends that he did not have
access to a pen while the prison was on lockdown.
State was directed to file a reply to the appellant's
response. The State points out that the appellant does not
indicate when he first received a copy of the order on appeal
or when the lockdown ended. The State also asserts that the
appellant did not need to attach a copy of the order on
appeal in order to file a timely notice of appeal. The State
argues that a timely appeal is a jurisdictional requirement
and that the appellant has failed to allege or demonstrate
that his untimely filing is attributable to court-related
Under Supreme Court Rule 6(a)(iv), the appellant's notice
of appeal was due on or before March 2, 2017, which was 30
days from the date the order on appeal was docketed. The
appellant does not assert that the Superior Court failed to
provide him with a copy of the order in a timely manner or
that he otherwise did not receive timely notice of the
circumstances that occurred at the James T. Vaughn resulted
in a lockdown for a period of some days and was no doubt
disruptive to inmates, including to those needing to file
legal papers. But, absent from the appellant's filing is
any explanation of why he could not have filed a notice of
appeal within the time frame required. The appellant has
filed other appeals and therefore understands the process. He
also did not need all his papers to file a simple notice of
appeal in a timely way. Had he done so, he could have asked
for and would have been granted more time, if needed, to file
his opening brief.
Time is a jurisdictional requirement. A notice of appeal must
be received by the Office of the Clerk of this Court
within the applicable time period to be
effective. An appellant's pro se status does not
excuse a failure to comply strictly with the jurisdictional
requirements of Supreme Court Rule 6. Thus, the appeal must be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Even if his appeal was timely filed, it is without merit.
Rodriguez seeks to appeal from the Superior Court's
denial of his motion for correction of illegal sentence.
Rodriguez pled guilty in June 2013 to Manslaughter (as a
lesser included offense to Murder by Abuse or Neglect in the
First Degree) and Assault by Abuse or Neglect, both Class B
felonies with a sentencing range of two to twenty-five years.
The Superior Court sentenced Rodriguez in September 2013 to a
total period of fifty years at Level V incarceration, to be
suspended after serving forty years for a period of
probation. The sentence is within the authorized range and is
recognize, however, that even though the sentencing order was
not illegal, the Superior Court's order denying
Rodriguez's motion does appear to contain extraneous
information in paragraph six (referring to a violation of
probation hearing and lack of amenability to community-based
supervision). The Superior Court may have confused the
appellant's motion with another case. Thus, if the court
on its own motion believes that it erred, it should revisit
the motion and its order and correct the record.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, under Supreme Court Rule 29(b),