Submitted: August 14, 2017
Consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction
Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61
RK-07-0012-01 Trf. Co. > 100 GR (F) RK-07-0015-01 Consp.
2nd (F) RK-09-0544-01 Del. NSII CS (F)
RK-09-0548-01 Consp. 2nd (F)
Kathleen A. Dickerson, Esq., Department of Justice, Dover,
Delaware. Attorney for the State.
C. Benitez, Pro se.
WILLIAM L. WITHAM, JR RESIDENT JUDGE.
consideration of Juan C. Benitez's ("Benitez")
Motion For Postconviction Relief, Amended Motion for
Postconviction Relief, Defense Counsel's Affidavit, the
State's response, and the record in this case, it
Benitez pled guilty to one count of Trafficking Cocaine >
100 grams, two counts of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and
one count of Delivery of a Narcotic Schedule II Controlled
Substance, Cocaine on April 4, 2011. He was immediately
sentenced in accordance with the recommendations in the Plea
Agreement to forty-four years at Level V, suspended after
serving eight years minimum mandatory followed by
probation. Benitez filed two motions to modify his
sentence in 2011 which were denied on July 14, 2011 and
August 18, 2011. Next on February 11, 2015 Benitez filed a
Motion for Postconviction Relief, pro se. He alleges
two grounds for relief including ineffective assistance of
counsel. On May 20, 2016 Benitez filed an "Amended
Motion for Postconviction Relief: Supplement of record in
Postconviction of newly Discovered Evidence regarding OCME
[Office of Chief Medical Examiner] Scandal." The motion
and amended motion were set on a briefing schedule. On June
1, 2017 Benitez was ordered to Level III probation. On July
5, 2017 he was deported to the Dominican Republic. On July
17, 2017, the Court approved Probation and Parole's
request to discharge Benitez.
Delaware law the Court must first determine whether Benitez
has met the procedural requirements of Superior Court
Criminal Rule 61(i) before it may consider the merits of the
postconviction relief claims. Before reaching the procedural
bars to relief listed in Rule 61(i), a threshold issue must
be addressed. Rule 61(a)(1) "governs the procedure on an
application by a person in custody or subject to future
custody under a sentence" at the Superior
Court. The Delaware Supreme Court has explained
that a person loses standing to move for postconviction
relief under Rule 61 where the defendant is not in custody or
subject to future custody for the underlying offense or
challenged sentence. Clearly Benitez is no longer in custody or
subject to future custody under the sentence as he has been
discharged from probation and has also been deported from the
country, therefore he clearly lacks standing to pursue his
claim for relief under Rule 61. Thus there is no need to
reach the merits of Benitiz's claims.
the pending motion was filed more than one year after his
conviction became final. Thus pursuant to Superior Court
Criminal Rule 61(i)(1), Benitez's motion is time-barred
unless he successfully "asserts a retroactively
applicable right that is newly recognized after the judgment
of conviction is final."Benitez makes no attempt to allege
such a right therefore his motion is clearly procedurally
barred by Rule 61(i)(1). Benitez simply claims that he only
recently became aware that the OCME scandal impacted his
case. This is not sufficient to overcome the procedural bar.
I find that Benitez's motion for postconviction relief is
summarily DISMISSED for lack of standing
pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (a)(1) and
procedurally time-barred pursuant to Superior Court Criminal
IS SO ORDERED.
 The docket reflects that a Court
interpreter was present for the plea and sentencing.
State v. Benitez, Del. Super., ID No. ...