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Holmes v. State
Supreme Court of Delaware
August 29, 2017
ERIC HOLMES, Defendant Below-Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below-Appellee.
Submitted: July 14, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID
VAUGHN, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice.
29th day of August 2017, upon consideration of the
parties' briefs and the record on appeal, it appears to
the Court that:
(1) The appellant, Eric Holmes, filed this appeal from the
Superior Court's memorandum opinion, dated December 15,
2016, denying his first motion for postconviction
relief. After careful consideration, we find
no merit to the appeal. Thus, we affirm the Superior
(2) The record reflects that a Superior Court jury convicted
Holmes in July 2013 of Possession of a Firearm by a Person
Prohibited but acquitted him of Carrying a Concealed Deadly
Weapon. In May 2014, the Superior Court denied Holmes'
motions for new counsel and for judgment of acquittal and
granted the State's motion to declare Holmes a habitual
offender. The Superior Court sentenced Holmes to sixteen
years at Level V incarceration, followed by one year at
decreasing levels of supervision. We affirmed the Superior
Court's judgment on direct appeal.
(3) Holmes filed his first timely motion for postconviction
relief with the assistance of court-appointed counsel.
Holmes' motion raised eight claims asserting that his
trial counsel was ineffective and seven claims asserting that
his appellate counsel was ineffective on direct appeal. In a
twenty-two page opinion, the Superior Court rejected all of
Holmes' claims and granted postconviction counsel's
motion to withdraw from further representation. This appeal
(4) Holmes raises four claims in his opening brief on appeal.
First, he contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to file a pretrial motion seeking disclosure of the
identity of the State's confidential informant. Second,
Holmes contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to obtain an expert opinion to support his
intoxication defense. Third, Holmes contends that his trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to move to withdraw as
counsel due to a conflict. Fourth, Holmes argues that trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to sever
the charges against him. To the extent that Holmes raised
other issues in the motion he filed in the Superior Court, he
has waived any right to further review of those claims on
appeal by failing to argue them in his opening
(5) This Court applies the Strickland standard in
reviewing claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in a
timely first postconviction proceeding. Under
Strickland, Holmes must demonstrate that: (a) his
trial counsel's conduct fell below an objective standard
of reasonableness; and (b) there is a reasonable probability
that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the
outcome of the trial would have been different. A defendant
is required to set forth and substantiate concrete
allegations of cause and actual prejudice.Moreover,
there is a "strong presumption" that counsel's
representation was professionally reasonable.
(6) In this case, the Superior Court carefully considered
each of Holmes' claims of ineffective assistance and
found that all of the alleged errors were, in fact,
objectively reasonable strategic decisions made by counsel.
The Superior Court concluded that Holmes had established
neither cause nor prejudice under
(7) We agree. We have considered the parties' briefs and
the record on appeal and conclude that the judgment below
should be affirmed on the basis of, and for the reasons
assigned by, the Superior Court in its well-reasoned opinion
dated December 15, 2016.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the ...
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