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State v. Brown

Superior Court of Delaware

July 18, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
BRANDON BROWN, Defendant.

          Submitted: June 20, 2019

         Cr. A. Nos. IN18-02-1150

          Kelly H. Sheridan, Deputy Attorney General Eugene J. Maurer, Jr., Esquire Brandon Brown, pro se

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR REARGUMENT

          PAUL R. WALLACE, JUDGE

         This 18th day of July, 2019, upon consideration of the Defendant Brandon Brown's Pro Se Motion for Reargument (D.I. 37)[1] and the record in this matter, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) In August of 2017, a grand jury returned two different indictments against Brandon Brown (and some co-defendants) charging him multiple counts of burglary, aggravated menacing, theft, shoplifiting and related charges stemming from a multitude of offenses that occurred in January, February, and March of 2017.[2]

         (2) In February of 2018, Brown pleaded guilty to six of those charges (five from the indictments, one by new information.)[3] His sentencing occurred a few months later, after the State filed a habitual criminal petition.[4] Brown was sentenced to an aggregate of 25 years of Level V incarceration, suspended after serving 12 years (per the provisions of 11 Del. C. § 4214(c)), for decreasing levels of quasi-incarceration and probation.[5]

         (3) Brown filed no direct appeal from his convictions or sentence, but did previously file an unsuccessful pro se application for sentence reduction.[6]

         (4) Brown recently moved both for postconviction relief under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 and for appointment of counsel to assist him in pursuing that relief.[7] On May 15, 2019, the Court issued an order to expand the record relating to the Rule 61 motion; the Court, via that same order, denied Brown's motion for the appointment of counsel.[8] The Court, applying Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(e)(2), found that Brown's postconviction motion failed to set forth a "substantial [ineffective assistance of counsel] claim" and failed to demonstrate any "specific exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of counsel."[9] The substantive motion for postconviction relief remains pending.[10]

         (5) Brown has now filed a motion for reargument under Superior Court Criminal Rule 57(d) and Civil Rule 59(e) asking the Court to reconsider its denial of appointment of counsel.[11]

         (6) In Delaware, there is no specific criminal rule governing motions for reargument.[12] Under Superior Court Criminal Rule 57(d), however, the Court "shall regulate its practice in accordance with the applicable Superior Court civil rule or in any lawful manner not inconsistent with these rules or the rules of the Supreme Court."[13] Thus, Superior Court Civil Rule 59(e) is controlling in this criminal matter.[14]

         (7) And under that rule, Brown's motion for "reconsideration" (i.e., reargument) had to be served and filed within five days of this Court's May 15thdenial order.[15] So Brown had until May 22nd to serve and file his motion for reargument.[16] Brown's reargument motion was filed almost a month later-on June 20, 2019-and is, therefore, untimely.[17] Under settled Delaware law, this Court has no authority to extend the time in which to move for reargument.[18] And because Brown's reargument motion is untimely, this Court has no jurisdiction to consider it.[19]

         (8) Moreover, even when timely, it is well-settled that a motion for reargument is not a device for just repeating arguments already presented or making new arguments.[20] A proper motion for argument establishes that the Court "overlooked a controlling precedent or legal principles, or the Court has misapprehended the law or facts such as would have changed the outcome of the underlying decision."[21] And a proper motion does so by exposing "newly discovered evidence, a change of law, or manifest injustice."[22] Yet, Brown's does none of that here.[23] Instead, he merely suggests (or, more aptly, re-suggests) that as an inmate serving a lengthy sentence, he should be afforded a postconviction attorney at State expense to attack the plea agreement he entered with the guidance of experienced and well-respected defense counsel based on no more than cursory claims of ineffectiveness. That is hardly the stuff of which a ...


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