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State v. Williams

Superior Court of Delaware

January 8, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
CHARLESTON S. WILLIAMS, Defendant.

          Submitted: January 2, 2019

         Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief SUMMARILY DISMISSED.

          Charleston S. Williams, pro se, Smyrna, DE.

          Cari Chapman, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, 820 N. French St., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

          ORDER

          FERRIS W. WHARTON J.

         This 8th day of January, 2019, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief[1] and the record in this matter, it appears to the Court that:

         1. Defendant Charleston S. Williams ("Williams") was indicted by the Grand Jury on a single count of Rape First Degree.[2] After a four day jury trial, he was convicted of the lesser included offense of Unlawful Sexual Contact First Degree on June 1, 2010.[3] On March 4, 2011, he was sentenced to eight years of incarceration suspended after six years, followed by decreasing levels of supervision. Williams appealed his conviction and sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court which affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court on December 29, 2011.[4]

         2. On November 29, 2017, Williams filed a Motion for Postconviction Relief ("Motion").[5] Williams alleged three grounds for relief in the Motion: 1) ineffective assistance of counsel; 2) violation of due process; and 3) conflict of interest.[6] His claims focused on his assertion that the State improperly coached the complaining witness to cry on the witness stand and that his lawyer failed to properly preserve that issue for appeal.[7] That Motion was Summarily Dismissed by this Court on December 4, 2017.[8] He unsuccessfully appealed that summary dismissal to the Delaware Supreme Court.[9]

         3. The present motion alleges that the State failed to honor a commitment it made in his plea agreement in an unrelated Kent County case to recommend probation in this case.[10]

         4. Before addressing the merits of a defendant's motion for postconviction relief, the Court must first apply the procedural bars of Superior Court Criminal Rule 6l(i).[11] If a procedural bar exists, then the Court will not consider the merits of the postconviction claim.[12]

         5. Under Delaware Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, a motion for post-conviction relief can be barred for time limitations, successive motions, procedural defaults, and former adjudications. A motion exceeds time limitations if it is filed more than one year after the conviction becomes final or if it asserts a newly recognized, retroactively applied right more than one year after that right was first recognized. A motion is considered successive and therefore barred if it asserts any ground for relief "not asserted in a prior post-conviction proceeding." Successive motions are only considered if it is "warranted in the interest of justice." Grounds for relief "not asserted in the proceedings leading to the judgment of conviction" are barred as procedurally defaulted unless the movant can show "cause for relief and "prejudice from [the] violation." Grounds for relief formerly adjudicated in the case, including "proceedings leading to the judgment of conviction, in an appeal, in a post-conviction proceeding, or in a federal habeas corpus hearing" are barred. Former adjudications are only reconsidered if "warranted in the interest of justice."[13] A ground for relief is barred as formerly adjudicated if it was adjudicated at trial or on appeal.[14]

         6. The bars to relief do not apply either to a claim that the court lacked jurisdiction, to a claim that pleads with particularity that new evidence exists that creates a strong inference of actual innocence, [15] or that a new retroactively applied rule of constitutional law renders the conviction invalid.[16]

         7. Summary dismissal is appropriate if it plainly appears from the motion for postconviction relief and the record of prior proceedings in the case that the movant is not entitled to relief.[17]

         8. In applying the procedural bars of Rule 6l(i), it is clear that the motion is barred. The motion is untimely since it was filed nearly eight years after the conviction became final. It also barred as a successive motion and as subject to procedural ...


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