Submitted: December 18, 2018
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE SUMMARILY DISMISSED AND
MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL SHOULD BE DENIED.
P. Lugg, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of
Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.
Page, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware,
December 11, 2018, Defendant Darrel Page filed the subject
Rule 6 1 motion, his seventh Rule 6 1 motion.
subject motion, Page claims that the trial transcript of June
11, 2003 is no longer available, and therefore he is
prevented from raising a prosecutorial misconduct claim
stemming from the prosecutor's closing argument. Page,
who is serving three life sentences and a term of years
resulting from first degree murder convictions and other
robbery and weapons convictions, seeks to have his
convictions and sentences reversed because the trial
transcript is no longer available.
trial transcript of June 11, 2003 was transcribed and was
available during all the critical stages of the proceedings:
sentencing, direct appeal, and Page's first Rule 61
motion. Page was represented by counsel during all these
critical stages of the case. Whatever meritorious issues that
Page, with the assistance of counsel, desired to raise were
raised on direct appeal and/or in Page's first Rule 61
motion, based on the full trial record.
case illustrates why time-limitations are placed on the
presentation of claims, and why those time-limitations must
be adhered to. The trial was held in 2003. In 2011, Page
requested a copy of this trial transcript at the State's
expense. The Superior Court denied that request.
waited until December 2018, fifteen years after the trial,
and seven years after he was denied the right to obtain a
copy of this trial transcript at the State's expense, to
seek to obtain a price quote in order to decide whether he
wanted to purchase a copy of the trial transcript at his own
late date, Page's lead counsel representing him at his
first Rule 61 motion had retired, closed his office, and
relocated. The court reporter that recorded his trial had
retired and relocated. The Superior Court's file no
longer contains this trial transcript. While it is
conceivable that the State or the Delaware Supreme Court can
still locate this trial transcript in their respective files,
any effort to do so is unnecessary. Any potential claim that
Page may have asserted stemming from the prosecutor's
closing argument has long since been time-barred and is
otherwise procedurally barred.
existence or absence of the June 11, 2003 trial transcript at
this late date does not give rise to any actionable claim.
Page's subject motion, his seventh Rule 61 motion, is
procedurally barred and should be summarily dismissed.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was convicted on June 17, 2003 of three counts of Murder in
the First Degree, robbery, conspiracy and weapons charges. On
February 24, 2006, Page was sentenced to life imprisonment,
without the possibility of parole, for each of the three
counts of Murder in the First Degree plus a term of years on
the other convictions.
charges and resulting convictions stemmed from his actions on
November 20, 1999. Page was a member of a large drug ring
that sold crack cocaine and marijuana in Wilmington,
Delaware. Cedric Reinford was the leader of the
operation. In early 1999, Page was arrested for
trafficking in cocaine. Reinford provided Page money for his
bail and counsel, and in return Page agreed to sell drugs for
Reinford without taking any share of the
nine months of this arrangement, Page formulated a plan to
end it by killing Reinford. Page enlisted another member of
the drug ring, Michael Jones, to help him carry out his
November 20, 1999, Jones, Page and Reinford were together in
Reinford's car in Wilmington. Jones killed Reinford by
shooting him three times in the back of the head. Page and
Jones then doused Reinford's car with gasoline and set it
on fire with Reinford's body inside it.
and Jones proceeded to Reinford's house to take
Reinford's drug money from a safe. Page knew that
Reinford did not live alone in the house. His fiance, Manekka
Plant, and her two sons, ages 11 and 6 weeks old, also
resided there. Also staying at the home at the time was
Reinford's brother Muhammed.
house, Jones and Page gained entry and searched for
Reinford's drug money. They went upstairs to the bedroom
where Manekka had been sleeping with her six-week-old
baby. They awoke Manekka demanding to know where
Reinford hid his cash. Manekka began to panic, begging
"don't kill my baby, please don't kill my
baby." As Page searched the room for the drug money,
Jones warned Manekka that her pleas were making him nervous.
To show her that he meant business, Jones shot her in the
being shot in the foot, Manekka became more hysterical. Jones
ruthlessly shot her twice in the head, thus ending her
life. He then turned the gun on Muhammed,
shooting him between the eyes and leaving him for dead.
and Jones fled to Philadelphia. Muhammad miraculously
survived the shooting and called 911. He identified Page and
Jones to the police.
police investigation led to the questioning of Page's
girlfriend, Kim Still, who explained Page's plan to kill
Reinford. After a ten-month manhunt that included an
"America's Most Wanted" episode, Page was
tracked down in Atlanta, Georgia and arrested on November 3,
2000. He was indicted on January 29, 2001.
was tried before a Superior Court jury and convicted on June
17, 2003 of three counts of Murder in the First Degree,
robbery, conspiracy and weapons charges. He was sentenced to
life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for each
of the three counts of Murder in the First degree plus a term
Page's convictions and sentences, Page filed a direct
appeal. On October 10, 2007, the Delaware Supreme Court
affirmed his convictions and sentences.
Page filed six Rule 61 motions, all of which have been
also filed two unsuccessful petitions for federal habeas
SUBJECT RULE 61 MOTION
filed the subject Rule 61 motion, his seventh motion, on
December 11, 2018. In the subject motion, Page claims that
the trial transcript of June 11, 2003 is no longer available
and, therefore, he is prevented from raising a prosecutorial
misconduct claim arising from an allegedly improper remark
made by the prosecutor during his closing.
Page is entitled to proceed with the subject Rule 61 motion,
he must first satisfy the pleading requirements. Page filed
the subject Rule 61 motion in 2018, and it is the Rule 61 in
effect at the time of the filing of this motion that is
applicable Rule 61 mandates that Page's motion is to be
summarily dismissed unless he establishes: 1) that
new evidence exists that creates a strong inference
that he is actually innocent of the charges for which he was
convicted, or 2) the existence of a new rule of
constitutional law made retroactive to cases on collateral
review rendered his convictions invalid. If it plainly
appears from the motion for postconviction relief that the
movant is not entitled to relief, the Court may enter an
order for its summary dismissal and cause the movant to be
subject Rule 61 motion should be summarily dismissed. Page
has not pled with particularity that any new
evidence exists that creates a strong inference that he is
actually innocent of the charges for which he was convicted
or that there is a new rule of law that would render
his conviction invalid.
order to establish that new evidence exists, Page must show:
(1) that the evidence is such as will probably change the
result if a new trial is granted; (2) that it has been
discovered since the trial and could not have been discovered
before by the exercise ...