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State v. Williams

Superior Court of Delaware

November 8, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
MELVIN L. WILLIAMS, Defendant.

          Submitted: August 15, 2019

          Renee L. Hrivnak, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

          Melvin L. Williams, Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware, pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE SUMMARILY DISMISSED AND MOTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL SHOULD BE DENIED.

          Lynne M. Parker Commissioner

         This 8th day of November 2019, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:

         BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         1. In 2006, Defendant Melvin L. Williams was found guilty by a Superior Court jury of Murder in the First Degree and related weapons offenses. These charges stemmed from the death of a man who was shot in the head four times at close range. The Superior Court sentenced Williams to life imprisonment and a term of years followed by probation.

         2. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Williams' conviction and sentence on direct appeal.[1]

         3. On March 25, 2008, while represented by counsel, Williams filed a Rule 61 motion for postconviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and insufficiency of evidence claims. After consideration of the motion, an affidavit filed by Williams' trial counsel, and the State's response, the Superior Court denied the motion on May 28, 2009.[2] The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Williams' first Rule 61 postconviction relief motion on December 2, 2009.[3]

         4. Williams filed a federal petition for habeas corpus raising "actual innocence" and ineffective assistance of counsel claims. On May 15, 2013, the federal court denied Williams' habeas petition.[4]

         5. In January 2014, Williams filed a second Rule 61 motion for postconviction relief and a motion for the appointment of counsel. By Order dated February 4, 2014, the Superior Court summarily dismissed the postconviction motion and denied the appointment of counsel.[5] On May 12, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the second Rule 61 motion and the denial of the appointment of counsel.[6]

         6. On August 5, 2019, Williams filed the subject Rule 61 motion. In the subject motion, Williams raises four claims. Specifically, Williams claims:

(1) that he learned that his trial counsel was disbarred for a mental disability and "who says he was not going through this disability when he represented me";
(2) that "a man came forward and wrote to the courts that he was the person who committed ...

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