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Pinkston v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

April 22, 2014

JESUS PINKSTON, Defendant Below-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below-Appellee

Submitted March 3, 2014.

Motion for Reargument filed 4/30/14; Denied 5/6/14. Case Closed May 8, 2014.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.

Court Below--Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. Cr. ID 1004018182.

Before HOLLAND, BERGER and RIDGELY, Justices.

OPINION

Randy J. Holland, Justice.

ORDER

This 22nd day of April 2014, upon consideration of the appellant's Supreme Court Rule 26(c) brief, his attorney's motion to withdraw, and the State's response thereto, it appears to the Court that:

(1) The defendant-appellant, Jesus Pinkston, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's denial of his first motion for postconviction relief. Pinkston's counsel on appeal has filed a no-merit brief and a motion to withdraw pursuant to Rule 26(c). Counsel asserts that, based upon a complete and careful examination of the record, there are no arguably appealable issues. Pinkston filed a response to his attorney's presentation raising five points for the Court's consideration on appeal. The State has responded to Pinkston's points, as well as to the position taken by Pinkston's counsel, and has moved to affirm the Superior Court's judgment. We find no merit to Pinkston's appeal. Accordingly, we affirm.

(2) The record reflects that, on April 21, 2010, Pinkston was driving in Wilmington with a revoked license.[1] Pinkston knew that the vehicle he was driving had been reported stolen by the owner; therefore, he had altered the vehicle's license plate. Believing that he was being followed by a police officer, Pinkston began speeding and driving erratically in an effort to evade the officer. In the course of the ensuing chase, Pinkston struck three separate vehicles. Ultimately, he lost control of the car and killed a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk. Pinkston fled the scene. He was arrested on May 3, 2010 in Maryland.

(3) Pinkston was indicted on the following charges: Murder in the Second Degree, Leaving the Scene of a Collision Resulting in Death, Reckless Endangering in the First Degree, Reckless Driving, Disregarding a Red Light, Failure to Drive at a Speed Appropriate for Conditions, two counts of Leaving the Scene of a Collision Resulting in Property Damage or Injury, Driving into Oncoming Traffic on Divided Highways, Aggressive Driving, Receiving Stolen Property, Forgery in the Second Degree, Driving After Judgment Prohibited, Driving While License is Suspended or Revoked, and No Proof of Insurance.

(4) In May 2011, Pinkston pled guilty to Manslaughter (as a lesser included offense to Murder in the Second Degree), Leaving the Scene of a Collision Resulting in Death, and Reckless Endangering in the First Degree. The State dismissed the remaining charges. In his plea colloquy, Pinkston acknowledged that he faced a sentence that could range from three years to thirty-five years in prison. He stated that he was " very" satisfied with his counsel's representation and that he was pleading guilty because he was, in fact, guilty of the charges. The Superior Court ordered a presentence investigation. On July 29, 2011, the Superior Court sentenced Pinkston on all three charges to a total period of thirty-two years at Level V incarceration to be suspended after serving twenty-five years in prison for decreasing levels of supervision.

(5) Pinkston did not file a direct appeal to this Court. Instead, in October 2011, Pinkston, with the assistance of counsel, filed a motion for sentence modification. The gist of defense counsel's motion was that the sentencing court had not given sufficient consideration to Pinkston's mitigating evidence, which consisted of a psychological evaluation that Pinkston had undergone in preparation for trial. Defense counsel argued, among other things, that the twenty-five year sentence imposed for Pinkston's Manslaughter conviction was so excessive compared to the presumptive SENTAC guideline of two to five years and compared to sentences imposed upon other defendants under similar circumstances. Counsel also ...


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