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State v. Hall

Superior Court of Delaware

August 2, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
GIBSON A. HALL Defendant.

          ORDER

          SHELDON K. RENNIE, JUDGE.

         This 2nd day of August, 2019, having considered Defendant's "Motion to Reopen Interlocutory Judgment and/or Relief from Judgment or Order Pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 60(b)(6)," the State's Response, Defendant's Reply, and the record of this case, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.

         It appears that:

1. In 1979, Gibson Hall (the "Defendant") was convicted, after a jury trial, of First Degree Murder and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony ("PDWDCF"). In 1980, he was sentenced to Life Imprisonment plus five years at Level V.
2. In 1981, his conviction was affirmed on direct appeal by the Delaware Supreme Court.[1] In 1987, 2008, and 2013, Defendant filed Motions for Postconviction Relief which were all denied by the Superior Court, and each of those denials were affirmed by Delaware Supreme Court.[2]
3. On May 22, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion for Transcripts in order to support a prospective fourth motion for postconviction relief. Defendant sought transcripts of the statements at trial, the sentencing hearing, and the denial of a motion for a new trial.[3] His Motion failed to plead with particularity either: (1) the existence of new evidence that creates a strong inference of actual innocence or (2) a new rule of retroactively applicable constitutional law that renders his conviction invalid. This Court denied Defendant's Motion, pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(d)(2).[4]
4. Defendant appealed the denial of his Motion for Transcripts. On August 17, 2018, citing Davis v. State, [5] the Delaware Supreme Court dismissed Defendant's appeal on the grounds that the denial of a request for transcripts (to support a contemplated Rule 61 motion) was an interlocutory order and, therefore, it lacked jurisdiction to consider that appeal.[6] On September 4, 2018, the Delaware Supreme Court denied Defendant's Motion for Rehearing en Banc.[7]
5. On November 29, 2018, Defendant filed a "Motion to Reopen Interlocutory Judgment and/or Relief From Judgment."[8] Defendant alleges that he is without recourse, because the denial of the Motion for Transcripts is not a final order and thus, constitutes extraordinary circumstances.[9]
6. The Court deems Defendant's pleading to be a Motion for Reconsideration of its denial of his Motion for Transcripts. Defendant's stated purpose for his request for transcripts is so that he can "prepare and file a motion for postconviction relief which he claims is permissible pursuant to Criminal Rule 61(d). He suggests, without providing any details or proffered evidence, that there is newly discovered evidence that would support his prospective fourth postconviction motion.
7. In support of the Motion to Reopen and/or Relief from Judgment, Defendant attached selected correspondence from 1991 through 2018. Most of the correspondence are from Defendant's attorneys to the Department of Justice and the Public Defender's Office requesting or communicating about records and documents to be utilized in his sentence commutation proceeding before the Board of Pardons.[10]
8. On February 28, 2019, the State filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion. On March 14, 2019, Defendant submitted a Reply.
9. Defendant apparently seeks official Court transcripts as well as the records (loosely referred to as "transcripts") of witness interviews compiled by the Attorney General's Office. To the extent that Defendant moves the Court for police/DAG investigation notes and memoranda of police interviews for commutation purposes, (all of which Mr. Patrizio has referred to as "transcripts"), those items are not official court records and are not within the Court's possession. Indeed, Mr. Patrizio represents Defendant in the commutation process and not in connection with any prospective postconviction relief. Hence, his requests were aimed solely at obtaining records and information to be utilized before the Board of Pardons.
10. To the extent that Defendant seeks official court records in order to file another Rule 61 motion for postconviction relief from his conviction, Defendant has not shown that another Rule 61 motion would not be barred. His stated purpose continues to be vague, lacks particularity, and fails to support any exception that would overcome a bar to successive motions.

         Accordingly, the Defendant's "Motion to Reopen Interlocutory Judgment and/or Relief from Judgment or Order Pursuant to Superior ...


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