Submitted: March 5, 2019
Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief SUMMARILY
Defendant's Request for Appointment of Postconviction
L. ROCANELLI JUDGE.
consideration of the Motion for Postconviction Relief
("PCR Motion") filed by Defendant DaRon J. Rogers
(a.k.a. "Rodgers") ("Defendant"); Rule 61
of the Superior Court Criminal Rules of Procedure ("Rule
61"); the facts, arguments, and legal authorities set
forth by Defendant; statutory and decisional law; and the
entire record in this case, the Court hereby finds as
August 29, 2017, Defendant was arrested. On November 13,
2017, a grand jury issued an indictment for Drug Dealing,
Aggravated Possession, Endangering the Welfare of a Child,
and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
October 11, 2018, Defendant pled guilty to Tier 4 Drug
Dealing, a Class B Felony.
motion by the State, the Court declared Defendant a habitual
offender by Order dated February 8, 2019.
Order dated February 8, 2019, effective July 25, 2018,
Defendant was sentenced as a habitual offender to 20 years at
Level V with credit for 7 days previously served, suspended
after 15 years for 5 years at supervision Level IV, suspended
after 6 months for 18 months at supervision Level III
("February 8, 2019 Sentencing Order").
March 5, 2019, Defendant filed this first timely PCR
Motion.Defendant also requests this Court to
appoint postconviction counsel.
Defendant is challenging the February 8, 2019 Sentencing
Order on the grounds that Defendant was denied the right to
effective assistance of counsel in that he claims that his
plea was not voluntary.
Postconviction relief is a "collateral remedy which
provides an avenue for upsetting judgments that have
otherwise become final."
protect the finality of criminal convictions, the Court must
consider the procedural requirements for relief set out under
Rule 61 (i) before addressing the merits of the
motion. Rule 6l(i)(1) bars a motion for
postconviction relief that is filed more than one year from a
final judgment of conviction. This bar is inapplicable as
Defendant's PCR Motion is timely. Rule 6l(i)(2) bars
successive motions for postconviction relief. This bar is
inapplicable as this is Defendant's first postconviction
motion. Rule 6l(i)(3) bars relief if the postconviction
motion includes claims that were not asserted in prior
proceedings leading to the final judgment, unless the movant
shows cause for relief from the procedural bars and prejudice
from a violation of the movant's rights. Moreover, Rule
6l(i)(4) bars relief if the postconviction motion includes
grounds for relief formerly adjudicated in any proceeding
leading to the judgment of conviction, in an appeal, or in a
postconviction proceeding. Rule 6l(i)(3) and 6l(i)(4) are
inapplicable because Defendant's claims for ineffective
assistance of counsel could not have been raised in the
proceedings leading to the judgment of conviction or on
direct appeal. The procedural requirements of Rule 61 (i)
are satisfied. Accordingly, the Court will address
Defendant's PCR Motion on the merits.
standard used to evaluate claims of ineffective counsel is
the two-prong test articulated by the United States Supreme
Court in Strickland v.. Washington,
 as adopted in
Delaware. Under Strickland, Defendant
must show that (1) counsel's representation fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness; and (2) there is a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would
have been different. Failure to prove either prong will
render the claim insufficient. The Court shall dismiss
entirely conclusory allegations of ineffective
assistance. The movant must provide concrete
allegations of prejudice, including specifying the nature of
the prejudice and the adverse effects actually
With respect to the first prong-the performance prong-the
movant must overcome the strong presumption that
counsel's conduct was professionally
reasonable. To satisfy the performance prong,
Defendant must assert specific allegations establishing that
counsel acted unreasonably as viewed against "prevailing
professional norms." With respect to the second
prong-the prejudice prong-Defendant must show that
"there is a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the
proceeding would have been different."
Defendant contends that he received ineffective assistance of
counsel in connection with Defendant's guilty plea.
Specifically, Defendant asserts that his guilty plea was
involuntary and that defense counsel failed to advise
Defendant of the mandatory minimum and maximum penalties
provided by law.
Defendant also contends that defense counsel's advice to
waive Defendant's preliminary hearing and failure to file
a motion to suppress challenging the stop and seizure of
Defendant constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.
sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to a Plea
Agreement between the State and Defendant and signed by
Defendant. Defendant also signed a Truth-in-Sentencing Guilty
Plea Form. Pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1) of the Superior Court
Criminal Rules, the Court addressed Defendant personally in
open court prior to Defendant's sentencing. The Court
determined that Defendant understood the nature of the
charges to which the plea was offered, including the
mandatory minimum and maximum penalties provided by law.
Defendant confirmed that his plea was voluntary, and not the
result of force, threats, or promises apart from the plea
agreement. Defendant acknowledged to the Court that he