Lowman v. State

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE AARON O. LOWMAN, Defendant BelowAppellant, v. STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff BelowAppellee. § § § § § § § § § § § No. 169, 2016 Court Below—Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID 0907016090 Submitted: April 12, 2016 Decided: April 20, 2016 Before HOLLAND, VALIHURA, and SEITZ, Justices. ORDER This 20th day of April 2016, it appears to the Court that: (1) On April 4, 2016, the Court received the appellant’s notice of appeal from the Superior Court’s order, dated and docketed March 2, 2016, denying the appellant’s motion for postconviction relief. Under Supreme Court Rule 6(a)(iv), a timely notice of appeal should have been filed on or before April 1, 2016. (2) The Clerk issued a notice directing the appellant to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed as untimely.1 The appellant filed a response to 1 Del. Supr. Ct. R. 29(b) (2016). the notice to show cause on April 12, 2016. He asserts that he placed his notice of appeal in the prison mailbox on March 22, 2016.2 (3) This Court, however, has never adopted a prisoner mailbox rule.3 A notice of appeal must be received by the Office of the Clerk of this Court within the applicable time period in order to be effective.4 Time is a jurisdictional requirement,5 and an appellant’s pro se status does not excuse a failure to comply strictly with the jurisdictional requirements of Supreme Court Rule 6. Unless the appellant can demonstrate that the failure to file a timely notice of appeal is attributable to court-related personnel, his appeal cannot be considered.6 (4) Prison personnel are not court-related personnel. Consequently, even assuming prison personnel delayed somehow in mailing the appellant’s notice of appeal, this case does not fall within the exception to the general rule that mandates the timely filing of a notice of appeal. Thus, the Court concludes that the within appeal must be dismissed. 2 The appellant also asserts that he did not receive the notarized statement of his prison account, which needed to be attached to his in forma pauperis motion, until April 8, 2016 and that this should not be held against him. It has not been. The Court’s rule to show cause was limited solely to the timeliness of the notice of appeal and did not include the appellant’s in forma pauperis motion. 3 Smith v. State, 47 A.3d 481, 486-87 (Del. 2012). 4 Del. Supr. Ct. R. 10(a) (2016). 5 Carr v. State, 554 A.2d 778, 779 (Del.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 829 (1989). 6 Bey v. State, 402 A.2d 362, 363 (Del. 1979). 2 NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, under Supreme Court Rule 29(b), that the within appeal is DISMISSED. BY THE COURT: /s/ Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice 3