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State v. Langston

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

October 25, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
ADARYLLE L. LANGSTON, Defendant.

         RK15-09-0051-01 Sex Child Abuse (F)

         Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Denise L. Weeks-Tappan, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          Adarylle L. Langston, Pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ANDREA M. FREUD COMMISSIONER.

         The defendant, Adarylle L. Langston ("Langston"), pled guilty at his Final Case Review on December 2, 2015 to one count of Sexual Abuse of a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust, Authority, or Supervision in the First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 778. He was also facing one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and one count of Rape in the Fourth Degree. In exchange for the plea nolle prosequis were entered by the State on the two additional charges. The parties, as a part of the Plea Agreement, recommended a sentence of twenty-five years incarceration suspended after five years, two of which were minimum mandatory, for probation. The Court agreed with the recommendation and sentenced Langston accordingly. Langston did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court. Instead he filed the pending motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 on November 14, 2016.

         FACTS

         The charges involved Langston digitally penetrating the 17 year old daughter of his girlfriend and having sexual intercourse with the victim as well during the evening of August 21, 2015 while he was acting as a guardian and caretaker the victim due to her mother having health issues. Langston gave the victim marijuana to smoke. She then went to sleep. While the victim was asleep Langston started to have intercourse with the victim. She awoke but was scared and pretended to be asleep. She told her mother what had happened the next day. The two then went to the Emergency Room at Kent General Hospital where they gave a detailed statement to the Delaware State Police in which she identified Langston, her mother's long time boyfriend, as her accoster.[1]

         LANGSTON'S CONTENTIONS

         Langston claims his attorney was ineffective because she did not challenge the indictment and allowed him to plead to a faulty indictment.

         No supporting memorandum was filed.

          DISCUSSION

         Under Delaware law, this Court must first determine whether Langston has met the procedural requirements of Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(i) before it may consider the merits of his postconviction relief claim.[2] This is Langston's first motion for postconviction relief, and it was filed within one year of his conviction becoming final. Therefore, the requirements of Rule 61(i)(1) - requiring filing within one year and (2) - requiring that all grounds for relief be presented in initial Rule 61 motion, are met. Langston's claim was not raised at the plea, sentencing, or on direct appeal. Therefore, it is barred by Rule 61(i)(3), absent a demonstration of cause for the default and prejudice. Langston's claim is based on ineffective assistance of counsel; therefore, he has alleged cause for his failure to have raised it earlier.

         At this point, Rule 61(i)(3) does not bar relief as to Langston's grounds for relief, provided he demonstrates that his counsel was ineffective and that he was prejudiced by counsel's actions. To prevail on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, Langston must meet the two-prong test of Strickland v. Washington.[3] In the context of a guilty plea challenge, Strickland requires a defendant show: (1) that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness; and (2) that counsel's actions were prejudicial to him in that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's error, he would not have pled guilty and would have insisted on going to trial and that the result of a trial would have been his acquittal.[4] The failure to establish that a defendant would not have pled guilty and would have proceeded to trial is sufficient cause for denial of relief.[5] In addition, Delaware courts have consistently held that in setting forth a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must make concrete allegations of actual prejudice and substantiate them or risk summary dismissal.[6] When examining the representation of counsel pursuant to the first prong ...


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