State v. Carter, 020317 DESUP, 0810013184

Docket Nº:ID 0810013184
Opinion Judge:M. Jane Brady, Superior Court Judge
Party Name:STATE OF DELAWARE v. JERMAINE CARTER Defendant.
Attorney:Christopher S. Koyste, Esquire, Attorney for the Defendant Gregory E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Carvel State Office Building, Attorney for the State
Case Date:February 03, 2017
Court:Superior Court of Delaware

STATE OF DELAWARE

v.

JERMAINE CARTER Defendant.

ID No. 0810013184

Superior Court of Delaware

February 3, 2017

Submitted: January 16, 2017

Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief SUMMARILY DISMISSED.

Upon Counsel's Motion to Withdraw as Counsel, GRANTED.

Christopher S. Koyste, Esquire, Attorney for the Defendant

Gregory E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Carvel State Office Building, Attorney for the State

OPINION

M. Jane Brady, Superior Court Judge

I. Introduction & Procedural Background

Before the Court is a Motion for Postconviction Relief, filed pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61"), by Jermaine Carter ("Defendant") on October 18, 2013.1 Despite any conceivable procedural defects, the Court shall address each claim raised by the Defendant in his numerous filings, from his original Motion for Postconviction Relief to his final submission on January 23, 2017. In sum, Defendant raises eight claims for the Court's review, which he alleges entitle him to withdraw his plea of guilty but mentally ill, and proceed to trial.

On December 8, 2008, the New Castle County Grand Jury indicted Defendant on counts of Rape in the First Degree, Kidnapping in the Second Degree, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony ("PFDCF"), Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited ("PFPP"), and Robbery in the First Degree.2 On December 18, 2009 Defendant pled guilty to Rape in the First Degree, Rape in the Second Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, PFDCF, and two counts of Kidnapping in the Second Degree during a full colloquy with the Court.3 On June 4, 2010 when Defendant was scheduled to be sentenced, defense counsel and the State presented Defendant's mental health evaluations to the Court. The Court found a factual basis to change the plea to guilty but mentally ill, and conducted a brief colloquy with Defendant.4 Because Defendant was pleading to the same charges, once the Court found that Defendant qualified for the guilty but mentally ill plea, and that he voluntarily wished to change to such, the Court noted that it was satisfied with Defendant's answers at the December 9, 2009 Plea Hearing.5

Defendant was then sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 45 years.6 Defendant did not file a direct appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.

On October 18, 2013 Defendant filed a pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief and Memorandum of Law in support. Defendant claimed counsel was ineffective for failing to provide Defendant with his Rule 16 discovery materials, not suppressing favorable evidence to the State, and not filing an appeal. Defendant also alleged that there was insufficient DNA evidence from the victims, his plea was involuntary because of his "mentally ill bipolar syndrome, " and police reports and victim statements were inconsistent with the physical evidence. On October 29, 2013 the Court ordered the Office of Conflict to appoint counsel to represent Defendant in his postconviction proceedings. On January 6, 2014 Christopher Tease, Esquire was appointed as counsel for Defendant. On May 8, 2014 trial counsel filed his Rule 61 (g)(2) affidavit addressing the claims raised in Defendant's Motion. On October 30, 2014 Donald Roberts, Esquire was substituted as postconviction counsel. On November 10, 2014 the Court allowed Mr. Roberts to review and supplement Defendant's pro se Motion, if necessary. On December 18, 2014 Mr. Roberts filed a Motion to Withdraw as counsel. On February 3, 2015 the State filed a response to the Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief. On July 23, 2015 a teleconference was held, during which the Court informed the parties that it believed briefing was complete, that it was not necessary to hold an evidentiary hearing, and that the Court was ready to render a decision on Defendant's Motion.

On September 21, 2015, before his first Motion was decided, Defendant filed a second pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief. In that Motion, Defendant claims counsel was ineffective for failing to file an appeal, for failing to provide Defendant with copies of his Rule 16 discovery, and for failing "to investigate and develop insufficient evidence."7 On September 24, 2015 an office conference was held, during which the Court informed the parties that it would provide Defendant until November 6, 2015 to provide any additional comment he wished the Court to consider. On October 13, 2015 Defendant filed another pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief titled "Amending as a matter of course." In that Motion, Defendant claimed trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file an appeal, failing to give Defendant copies of his Rule 16 discovery materials, and failed "to investigate to develop that the evidence was weak."[8] Defendant also claimed that his plea of guilty but mentally ill was not knowingly accepted.9 On October 16, 2015 Defendant filed a Memorandum of Law in support of his Motion.[10] On November 4, 2015 Defendant filed another pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief, titled "Leave to Amend."11 In that Motion, Defendant claimed that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file an appeal, failing to discuss prejudicial joinder with Defendant, failing to provide Defendant with copies of his Rule 16 discovery materials.12 Defendant also claimed that his plea of guilty but mentally ill was not knowingly accepted, and that his sentence was illegal because the "investigative services office failed to obtain victim impact statement."13 On November 9, 2015 Defendant filed another pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief, titled "Leave to Amend as Justice so Requires, "14 raising similar issues, and also claiming that his sentence was illegal because the "investigative services office failed to obtain victim impact statement."15

On January 6, 2016 the Court entered a Scheduling Order to afford the parties the opportunity to address claims raised in Defendant's Amended Motion that were not addressed by previous submissions. Trial counsel was given until February 2, 2016 to address the new claims raised, the State was given until March 1, 2016 to file any argument in response, and Defendant was to file any reply by April 5, 2016.

On February 1, 2016 Defendant filed another pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief titled "Leave to Amend as Justice so Requires.16 On February 2, 2016 trial counsel filed his affidavit addressing Defendant's new claims. On March 7, 2016 Defendant filed another pro se Motion for Postconviction Relief titled "Leave to Amend as Justice so Requires."17 On March 18, 2016 the Court granted the State an extension until May 5, 2016 to file its response to Defendant's new claims. On April 4, 2016 Defendant filed pro se for Leave to Amend his Motion for Postconviction Relief.18 On April 28, 2016 the State informed the Court that the Deputy Attorney General assigned to the case had inadvertently been removed as the State's attorney on the Docket, and the State had not received any submissions in the case after the September 24, 2015 office conference. On April 28, 2016 the Office of Conflict Counsel informed the Court that Mr. Roberts was closing his law practice, and that new counsel would be appointed to represent Defendant.

On May 3, 2016 the Court granted the State's request for an extension, and on June 27, 2016 the State filed its response to Defendant's new claims. On July 28, 2016 Christopher Koyste, Esquire was appointed as counsel for Defendant. On August 8, 2016 the Court granted Mr. Koyste's request for a sixty-day abeyance in order to receive the hard-copy of the file, review the submissions of the parties, and submit any additional filing. On August 22, 2016

Defendant filed a pro se Motion to Amend his Postconviction Motion.19 On September 26, 2016 Mr. Kosyte filed a Motion to Withdraw. On January 13, 2017 the Court wrote a letter to

Defendant informing him that the Court had not received a final response in his proceeding, and i provided the Defendant until February 24, 2017 in order to file a response. On January 23, 2017 Defendant filed a pro se Motion for Leave to Amend.20 In that Motion, Defendant claimed generally that he "[was] suffering from unreasonable search and seizure, malicious prosecution, and ineffective assistance of counsel, " all of which he "[was] not supposed to be suffering from."21 Having before it submissions from all of the parties addressing Defendant's original and amended claims, and having given Defendant the opportunity to file a final response, the Court took the matter under advisement.22 This is the Court's decision.

II. Facts

On October 13, 2008, Defendant approached Cherish Ford ("Ford") on Wilmington Street while she was taking her child out of her car. Defendant displayed a silver colored handgun and stated "give me your money." Ford turned over $4, several credit cards and her purse, after which Carter fled.

On October 14, 2008, in the 800 block of North Madison Street in Wilmington, Defendant pulled Deja Hardin ("Hardin") into an alley, told her, "don't move or I'll kill you, " and robbed her of an MP-3 player and her purse.

On October 15, 2008, T.T.23 was walking in the 1400 block of Northeast Boulevard in Wilmington, Delaware. Defendant approached T.T., displayed a silver handgun, and forced her i into an alley near the 1100 block of 14th Street. Defendant ordered T.T. to remove her pants and underwear and told her to get on her knees. Defendant then raped her anally and vaginally, took three silver-colored rings from her, and fled on foot. T.T. immediately reported the crimes, underwent a sexual assault examination at a hospital at which evidence was collected, and identified Defendant as her assailant from a photographic...

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