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State v. Wright

Superior Court of Delaware

February 26, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
DONALD K. WRIGHT, Defendant

          Submitted: November 28, 2017

         On Defendant's Third Motion for Postconviction Relief.

          Cari Chapman, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

          Donald Wright, James T. Vaughn Correctional Institution, Smyrna, Delaware, pro se.

          ORDER

          Richard R. Cooch, R.J.

         This 26th day of February 2018, upon consideration of Defendant's Third Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:

1. The facts of this case were set forth in this Court's earlier opinion on Defendant's first Motion for Postconviction Relief as follows:

Defendant, Donald Wright, was convicted on December 12, 2008, following a jury trial in this Court of eight counts of Rape First Degree, Rape Second Degree, Unlawful Sexual Contact First Degree and Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.
These charges arose from events that took place between April 2006 and November 2007, during which time Defendant sexually abused his minor stepdaughter. The victim testified at trial that Wright repeatedly engaged in oral and vaginal intercourse with her during this period of time. Defendant admitted at trial that he engaged in oral sex with the victim "four times, had ejaculated on her stomach, touched her breasts, rubbed his penis on the outside of her vagina and placed his fingers inside her vagina."
On February 12, 2009, Defendant was sentenced to fifteen years at Level V on each count of Rape First Degree and Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. Defendant was also sentenced to ten years at Level V followed by five years of probation for the single count of Rape Second Degree.
Defendant appealed his case to the Delaware Supreme Court and his convictions were affirmed on August 28, 2009.[1]

         2. In his first Motion for Postconviction Relief, Defendant asserted three grounds for postconviction relief: (1) "movant was prejudiced when counsel failed to file a timely objection pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 12(b)(2) challenging the vagueness of [the] indictment. ... (2) movant was prejudiced when counsel on direct appeal failed to challenge the vagueness of [the] indictment as to counts 1 through 8; . . . and (3) movant was prejudiced when counsel on direct appeal failed to challenge the vagueness of [the] indictment as to count 38."[2]

         3. This Court denied Defendant's first Motion for Postconviction Relief. That decision was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.[3]

         4. On November 16, 2016, Defendant filed his second Motion for Postconviction Relief and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. In his second Motion for Postconviction Relief, Defendant moved for relief on the grounds that this Court lacked jurisdiction to "convict or punish" him and essentially that new evidence exists that would create a strong inference that he is actually innocent of the crimes charged.[4] This Court denied Defendant's second Motion for Postconviction Relief, finding that Defendant failed to demonstrate that either of the exceptions to a subsequent motion pursuant to Del. Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(d)(2) applies in this case.[5]

         5. Rule 61 is the remedy for defendants "in custody under a sentence of this court seeking to set aside the judgment of conviction . . . ."[6] This Court "must first consider the procedural requirements of Rule 61 before addressing any substantive issues."[7] The procedural bars of Rule 61 include timeliness, [8] successiveness, [9] procedural default, [10] and former adjudication.[11] A motion is untimely if it is filed more than one year after the conviction is finalized or defendant asserts a new constitutional right that is retroactively applied more than one year after it is first recognized.[12] A motion is successive if it is a "second or subsequent motion."[13] If any of these bars apply, the ...


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