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State v. Payne

Superior Court of Delaware, Sussex

August 13, 2018

State of Delaware
v.
Alonzo J. Payne,

          SUBMITTED: July 18, 2018

          Alonzo J. Payne, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

         Dear Mr. Payne:

         Defendant Alonzo J. Payne ("Defendant") has filed his second Motion for Postconviction Relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 ").[1] For the reasons expressed below the motion is DENIED

         On February 26, 2014, after a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of one count of Robbery in the First Degree, one count of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony ("PFDCF"), and one count of Tampering with Physical Evidence. On May 23, 2014, Defendant was sentenced as follows: for Robbery in the First Degree, to serve 25 years at Level Five; for PFDCF, to serve 25 years at Level Five; and for Tampering with Physical Evidence, to serve two years at Level Five, suspended for one year at Level Three. At sentencing, Defendant was declared a habitual offender.[2] Defendant filed an appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court on September 7, 2001. The Supreme Court Affirmed Defendant's conviction on March 30, 2015.[3]On April 17, 2015, the Supreme Court mandate was filed, finalizing Defendant's conviction.[4]

         On May 15, 2015, Defendant filed his first Postconviction Motion. On January 18, 2017, the Superior Court denied Defendant's Motion.[5]

         On July 18, 2018, Defendant filed his second Motion for Postconviction Relief. He makes two claims: (1) that this Court violated his Fourteenth Amendment right and abused its discretion when denying his Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and (2) that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated when his attorney did not raise his initial claim on appeal.

         The first step in evaluating a motion under Rule 61 is to determine whether any of the procedural bars listed in Rule 6l(i) will force the motion to be procedurally barred.[6] Both Rule 61(i)(1) and (2) require this motion to be summarily dismissed. First, a motion for postconviction relief cannot be filed more than one year after the judgment is final.[7] Given that Defendant's conviction was final on April 17, 2015, his motion is time-barred. Additionally, any successive motion for postconviction relief is barred by Rule 6l(i)(2) unless the Defendant has:

(i) [pled]...with particularity that new evidence exists that creates a strong inference that the movant is actually innocent in fact of the acts underlying the charges of which [he] was convicted; or
(ii) [pled]...with particularity a claim that a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the United States Supreme Court or the Delaware Supreme Court, applies to the movant's case and renders the conviction or death sentence invalid.[8]

         Defendant is unable to meet either criteria. He has not alleged that new evidence exists that creates a strong inference of actual innocence or that a new rule of constitutional law applied retroactively to render his conviction invalid. He is simply attempting to re-litigate trial matters.

         In addition, Defendant filed a Motion for Modification of Sentence under Rule 35 with his Motion for Postconviction Relief. Under Rule 35, a Motion for Modification of Sentence made more than 90 days after the imposition of the sentence may only be considered in extraordinary circumstances.[9] No such circumstances exist in this case. Therefore, Defendant's Motion for Modification of Sentence is denied.

         Considering the foregoing, Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief and Motion for Modification of Sentence are DENIED. As Defendant's Motion for Postconviction relief is denied, Defendant's Motion for Appointment of Counsel is also DENIED.

         IT ...


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