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State v. Scott

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

October 30, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
CHARLES L. SCOTT, Defendant.

         RK92-03-0356-01 Murder 1st (F) RK92-03-0357-01 PDWDCF (F)

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

          Stephen R. Welch, Jr., Esquire, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          Alexander W. Funk, Esquire, Curley, Dodge & Funk, LLC, Dover, Delaware for Defendant.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          ANDREA M. FREUD, COMMISSIONER

         The Defendant, Charles L. Scott ("Scott"), was found guilty on November 17, 1992, by a jury, of one count of Murder in the First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 636, and one count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, 11 Del. C. § 1447. The companion charge of Burglary in the Second Degree and a second count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony were nolle prossed by the State. The case had originally been a capital murder case but prior to trial the State indicated to the Court and defense that it was not intending to seek the Death Penalty. A presentence investigation was ordered and on January 8, 1993 Scott was sentenced to mandatory life in prison on the Murder in the First Degree charge and an additional five years on the Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony charge.

         A timely Notice of Appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court was filed. Scott's counsel filed a brief and Motion to Withdraw pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 26(c). In the motion, counsel represented that he conducted a conscientious review of the record and concluded that no meritorious issues existed. By letter, counsel informed Scott of the provisions of Rule 26(c) and attached a copy of the Motion to Withdraw and accompanying brief. Scott was informed of his right to supplement his attorney's presentation. Scott did not raise any issues for the Supreme Court to consider.

         The Supreme Court granted the State's Motion to Affirm and affirmed Scott's conviction on February 3, 1994, finding the appeal "wholly without merit and devoid of any arguably appealable issue."[1] The mandate issued on February 23, 1994. On May 22, 2013, Scott filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. In his pro se motion, Scott raised five grounds for relief, in part, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.

         On April 26, 2013 the Court appointed Alexander W. Funk, Esquire ("Appointed Counsel") to represent Scott in his motion. After numerous extensions of time to file the amended motion for postconviction relief it was filed on February 8, 2016. In the amended motion only one ground for relief was raised.

         SCOTT'S CONTENTIONS

         In his initial pro se postconviction motion Scott raised the following grounds for relief:

Ground one: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel at Critical Pretrial Stages.
Ground two: Bias Jury Selection Process.
Ground three: Fair Trial Denied.
Ground four: Ineffective Assistance - Plea Negotiation Process.
Ground five: Ineffective Assistance - Appellate Process.

         In the amended motion filed by Appointed Counsel only one ground for relief is raised and none of Scott's original claims are discussed. The only claim raised is as follows:

Ground one: Mr. Scott's Defense at Trial of Extreme Emotional Distress; His Conviction For Murder First Degree; and His Sentence of Life in Prison Were Constitutionally Deficient, As they Failed to Consider Mr. Scott's Status As An 18 Year Old Adolescent, With Immature Brain Development In the Areas of Impulse Control, Decision-Making, and Foresight of ...

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