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State v. Purnell

Superior Court of Delaware

January 27, 2014

State
v.
Deronte Purnell

Submitted: January 6, 2014

Dear Counsel:

On April 22, 2013, Deronte Purnell ("the Defendant") filed his first Motion for Postconviction Relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61"). Mr. Gill was appointed to represent the Defendant. Scheduling orders were entered but had to be modified because of the work loads of the attorneys involved in this case. On January 6, 2014, Mr. Gill submitted the final filing.

BACKGROUND

On February 22, 2012, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to Robbery in the First Degree, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited. Due to his criminal record, and the fact that this was his third Robbery conviction, he faced a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of fifty-three years. A presentence investigation was conducted.

On April 27, 2013, the Defendant was sentenced to a total of twenty years at Level 5 (and completion of Key), followed by Level 4 (Crest), followed by Level 3 probation.

THE INITIAL RULE 61 MOTION

In the Defendant's initial Pro Se Rule 61 Motion, he alleged his attorney was ineffective. The Defendant argued that according to the initial plea agreement form "the movant agreed to a 20 years sentence on the Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony and to 25 years on the Robbery, suspended after serving 5 years and completing Key." This proposed sentence to which the defendant alleges he agreed is five years longer than the sentence he received. This initial plea agreement did not include the charge of Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited, which was later added.

In spite of agreeing to the above, the Defendant alleged that due to his attorney's communications with him, he expected a lower sentence based upon the Truth-In-Sentencing SENTAC guidelines.

The Defendant also alleged he agreed to immediate sentencing because he was an habitual offender and eligible under 11 Del. C. § 4214(b), which requires a non-discretionary life sentence. He also alleged he did not want a presentence investigation because the Court would have learned about his criminal record.

The Defendant alleges that the prosecutor crossed out the term "immediate sentencing" and noted that sentencing would occur after a presentence investigation. He alleges his attorney did not inform him of the above. He further alleges had he known there was going to be a presentence investigation, he would not have plead guilty and would have gone to trial.

Finally, the Defendant alleges he did not really commit a robbery because the store clerk he robbed was a cooperating victim who conspired with him in order to pay off a drug debt. Therefore, he concluded he is only possibly guilty of misdemeanor theft.

THE AMENDED RULE 61 MOTION

Following the appointment of counsel, the Defendant was given the opportunity to amend the initial postconviction motion.

In the Amended Motion, the Defendant alleges that his attorney did not adequately investigate his case and did not ...


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