United States District Court, D. Delaware
Peter Hunter. Pro se Petitioner.
L. Arban, Deputy Attorney General of the Delaware Department
of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for Respondents.
ANDREWS, UNITEP STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the Court is Petitioner Marion Peter
Hunter's Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and Amended Application
("Petition"). (D.I. 3; D.I. 8) The State filed an
Answer in opposition. (D.I. 12) For the reasons discussed,
the Court will dismiss the Petition.
2013, Petitioner was indicted on charges of first degree
rape, sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of
trust, strangulation, third degree assault, and terroristic
threatening. See Hunter v. State, 145 A.3d 429
(Table), 2016 WL 4191920, at *1 (Del. Aug. 1, 2016). On the
day that his trial was scheduled to proceed, Petitioner pled
guilty to one count of second degree rape. See State v.
Hunter, 2016 WL 1424398, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. Mar. 29,
2016). Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.
filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief
pursuant to Rule 61 in November 2013. See State v.
Hunter, 2014 WL 7474217, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. Dec. 31,
2014). The Superior Court appointed conflict counsel
("first Rule 61 counsel") to represent Petitioner
during his Rule 61 proceeding. Id. First Rule 61
counsel filed a motion to withdraw his representation on the
basis that there were no meritorious claims. Id.; see
also (D.I. 3-1 at 15) The Superior Court denied the
motion, and instead, appointed new Rule 61 counsel to
represent Petitioner ("second Rule 61 counsel").
See Hunter, 2014 WL 7474217, at *1. After reviewing
the record, second Rule 61 counsel filed a motion to withdraw
after determining that there were no meritorious claims.
See Hunter, 2016 WL 1424398, at *3. On March 29,
2016, the Superior Court granted second Rule 61 counsel's
motion to withdraw and dismissed the Rule 61 motion.
Id. Petitioner appealed, and the Delaware Supreme
Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment on August 1,
2016. See Hunter, 2016 WL 4191920, at *2.
GOVERNING LEGAL PRINCIPLES
Exhaustion and Procedural Default
exceptional circumstances, a federal court cannot grant
habeas relief unless the petitioner has exhausted all means
of available relief under state law. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.
838, 842-44 (1999); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270,
275 (1971). The AEDPA states, in pertinent part:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted unless it appears that -
(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the
courts of the State; or
(B)(i) there is an absence of available State corrective
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective
to protect the ...