Submitted: May 17, 2014
COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE DENIED AND COUNSEL'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW SHOULD BE GRANTED.
Kate S. Keller, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.
Dennis Bruce Phifer, Esquire, Attorney for Defendant David L. Matthews.
This 29th day of May, 2014, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief and Defendant's Rule 61 Counsel's Motion to Withdraw, it appears to the Court that:
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1. Following a two day trial, on November 2, 2011, Defendant David L. Matthews was found guilty by a Superior Court jury of Robbery in the First Degree.
2. Prior to sentencing, the State filed a motion to declare Defendant a habitual offender pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4214(b). If granted, sentencing under §4214(b) would have resulted in a sentence of life in prison.
3. Sentencing was scheduled to take place on March 30, 2012. On that date, the State requested a continuance to refile its habitual offender petition to seek sentencing under 11 Del. C. §4214(a), in recognition that there were insufficient predicate crimes to qualify for sentencing under §4214(b). If sentenced under §4214(a), Defendant would have been facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years at Level V, without the opportunity for any of the 25 year minimum mandatory sentence to be suspended and without the opportunity to earn "good time" credits.
4. Defendant's trial counsel opposed the State's continuance request and the court denied the State's request for a continuance.
5. Defendant was thereafter sentenced as a non-habitual criminal to a total of 25 years of Level V incarceration, to be suspended after 14 years, for 2 years at Level III probation.
6. Defendant filed a direct appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. On October 15, 2012, the Delaware Supreme Court found Defendant's appeal to be without merit and affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Superior Court.
7. The charge at issue stems from the following facts. These facts as set forth herein were derived principally from the recitation of facts contained in the Delaware Supreme Court's opinion on direct appeal and from the ...