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Weber v. Quinlan

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 13, 2018

PAUL E. WEBER, Plaintiff,
v.
AMY ARNOTT QUINLAN et al., Defendants.

          Paul E. Weber, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         District Judge:

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Paul E. Weber ("Plaintiff'), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 1) He filed a "supplemental complaint" on May 18, 2018. (D.I. 7) Plaintiff appears pro se and has paid the filing fee. The Court proceeds to review and screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Section 1915A(b)(1) is applicable to all prisoner lawsuits regardless of whether the litigant has paid the fee all at once or in installments. See Stringer v. Bureau of Prisons, Federal Agency, 145 Fed.Appx. 751, 752 (3d Cir. Aug. 23, 2005). Plaintiff has also filed numerous motions for injunctive relief as well as a motion for a scheduling order. (D.I. 11, 14, 15, 21, 22)

         II. BACKGROUND

         In July 2002, Plaintiff was convicted by a jury of forgery in the second degree and misdemeanor theft; he was sentenced to 30 days of Level V incarceration for each conviction.[2] See In the Matter of the Petition of Paul E. Weberfora Writ of Mandamus, 2018 WL 2446803 pel. May 30, 2018). The Delaware Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiffs direct appeal of the conviction based on its lack of jurisdiction to hear a criminal appeal unless the sentence imposed is a term of imprisonment exceeding one month or a fine exceeding $100. See Weber v. State, 2002 WL 31235418, at *1 (Del. Oct. 4, 2002) (citing Del. Const, art IV, § ll(1)(b)). In 2005, Plaintiff was convicted of attempted robbery in the first degree and attempted carjacking in the first degree; the Delaware Superior Court granted the State's petition to declare Plaintiff an habitual offender under 11 Del C. § 4214(a). See In the Matter of the Petition of Paul B. Weber for a Writ of Mandamus, 2018 WL 2446803 at *1. Plaintiffs forgery in the second degree conviction was one of the predicate offenses. See Id. Plaintiff appealed and argued that forgery in the second degree did not qualify as a predicate offense under 11 Del. C. § 4214(a) because he had no right to appeal. See Id. The Delaware Supreme Court held that the forgery in the second degree was a qualifying offense under § 4214(a) and the unavailability of a direct appeal did not change this result. See Weber v. State, 971 A.2d at 158-60. The Delaware Supreme Court noted that Plaintiff could have filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Superior Court Criminal Rule 35(a) or a petition for a writ of certiorari. See Id. at 159-60. It reversed the attempted robbery in the first degree conviction on other grounds, remanded for a new trial, and affirmed the attempted carjacking in the first degree conviction. See Id. at 143.

         Plaintiff was retried upon remand in April 2010 and convicted of attempted robbery in the first degree. See State v. Weber, 2017 WL 3638209 (Del. Super. Aug. 22, 2017). Once again, the State filed a motion to declare Plaintiff an habitual offender under § 4214(a). See Id. The Superior Court granted the motion, and Plaintiff was sentenced to twenty-five years of Level V incarceration for attempted robbery in the first degree. See id.

         Plaintiff alleges that he is factually and legally innocent of forgery in the second degree and was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial. (D.I. 1 at ¶¶ 21, 25) He alleges that he did not have the remedy of appeal under the Delaware Constitution, could not challenge his sentence under the Delaware Constitution or Delaware law, could not challenge the forgery conviction under Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rules 35(a) or 61, and could not challenge his conviction by means of cerriorari. (Id. at ¶¶ 32-36) He alleges that the forgery conviction was used for the purposes of sentencing enhancement and, without the forgery conviction, his sentence would have been three years instead of the twenty-five year sentence he received. (Id. at ¶¶ 42-45) Plaintiff alleges the postconviction procedures adopted, promulgated, implemented, and/or utilized by Defendants transgress inherent principles of justice and fundamental fairness and are inadequate to vindicate his substantive rights and redress injustice to him. (Id. at ¶ 47) Plaintiff alleges that on April 13, 2018 he issued a final demand to Defendants to provide him with an adequate and meaningful remedy to challenge his forgery conviction. (Id. at ¶ 52)

         Plaintiff filed a. pro se motion for postconviction relief of the 2010 conviction on August 6, 2013. See State v. Weber, 2017 WL 3638209 (Del. Super. Aug. 22, 2017). The matter was stayed and counsel was appointed to represent Plaintiff through the postconviction process. See Id. Appointed counsel filed an amended motion for postconviction relief on March 24, 2017. See Id. Thereafter, the matter was referred to a Commissioner for a report and recommendation, who recommended on August 22, 2017 that the motion for postconviction relief be denied. See Id. On March 6, 2018, the Superior Court adopted the Commissioner's report and denied Plaintiffs motion for postconviction relief. See Weber v. State, 168, 2018 (Del) at appellant's May 30, 2018 amended opening brief at Ex. B. On April 2, 2018, Plaintiff appealed the March 6, 2018 order to the Delaware Supreme Court. See Id. at Apr. 2, 2018 notice of appeal. The appeal remains pending.

         Plaintiff alleges violations of the United States Constitution and the Delaware Constitution. He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as compensator)' and punitive damages. Defendants named in the original complaint have waived service of summons. (See D.I. 8)

         III. SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT

         On May 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint; it was docketed as a supplement to the complaint. (D.I. 7) It adds Mike Little ("Litde") and Timothy T. Martin ("Martin") as defendants and alleges violations of Plaintiffs right to access to the courts. Plaintiff has also filed motions for injunctive relief and other documents with regard to the access to the courts claims. (See D.I. 11, 12 13, 14, 15, 17, 21)

         The Court has reviewed the supplemental complaint and its claims against Litde and Martin. The claims are only tangentially related to the original complaint at Docket Item 1. The Court considers the supplemental complaint an attempted to join unrelated defendants and claims in violation of Fed. R. C. P. 20(a)(2), which states, in pertinent part, as follows:

Persons may ... be joined in one action as defendants if any right to relief is asserted against them joindy, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and any question ...

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