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Windsor v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 28, 2014

WILLIAM T. WINDSOR, III, Defendant-Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff-Below, Appellee

Submitted June 27, 2014

Case Closed September 15, 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 Sussex County. Cr. ID 1212009736.

Before STRINE, Chief Justice, HOLLAND, and RIDGELY, Justices.

ORDER

Leo E. Strine, Jr., Chief Justice

This 28th day of August 2014, upon consideration of the appellant's Supreme Court Rule 26(c) brief, the State's response, and the record below, it appears to the Court that:

(1) On February 18, 2013, a grand jury indicted William T. Windsor, III, on three counts of rape in the second degree, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, ten counts of sexual abuse of a child bye a person in a position of trust in the first degree, three counts of rape in the fourth degree, ten counts of sexual solicitation of a child, eighty-seven counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust in the second degree, forty-three counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The victims (" Victim 1" and " Victim 2" ) were daughters of Windsor's girlfriend.

(2) Windsor moved for a bill of particulars, to sever the charges related to the two victims, and to suppress his inculpatory statement to the police. The Superior Court granted the motion to sever. The parties agreed that the State would not use Windsor's statement after the one hour and twenty-five minute mark of the police interview at trial and the Superior Court denied the motion to suppress.

(3) At an office conference on September 5, 2013, the Superior Court directed the State to consider reducing the number of charges it presented at trial.[1] The State then requested that the Superior Court reconsider severance if the number of charges was reduced and the Superior Court indicated that it would do so.[2]

(4) On September 9, 2013, the morning of jury selection, the State offered an amended indictment reducing the number of charges involving Victim 1 from 151 counts to twelve counts and indicated it had a draft amended indictment reducing the number of charges against Victim 2 from nine counts to eight counts.[3] The State also sought to rejoin the charges involving both victims so there could be one trial instead of two.[4] The State indicated it would not oppose a continuance if Windsor was not prepared to proceed to trial that day on the charges against both victims.[5] The Superior Court denied the request for rejoinder of the charges and held that trial would proceed the next day, as originally scheduled, on the twelve counts involving Victim 1.[6]

(5) Later that same day, Windsor pled guilty to one count of rape in the second degree in the case involving Victim 1 and nolo contendere to continuous sexual abuse of a child in the case involving Victim 2. Before accepting his plea, the Superior Court conducted a lengthy colloquy with Windsor. During the colloquy, Windsor stated under oath that: (i) he had freely and voluntarily decided to plead guilty to rape in the second degree and nolo contendere to continuous sexual abuse of a child; (ii) he had not been promised anything that was not stated in the written plea agreement; (iii) nobody had forced or threatened him to enter the plea; (iv) he understood that by entering the plea there would not be a trial and that he would be waiving several constitutional rights, including the right to be presumed innocent until the charges were proven beyond a reasonable doubt and the right to hear and question witnesses; and (v) he understood that he could receive a total maximum penalty of fifty years of incarceration.[7] After pleading guilty, Windsor sent two letters to the Superior Court inquiring about the substance of the September 5, 2013 office conference.

(6) The sentencing hearing took place on December 13, 2013. After the Superior Court heard statements from Windsor's counsel and relatives, Windsor asked the Superior Court if he could make a Superior Court Criminal Rule 32(d) (" Rule 32(d)" ) motion.[8] Under Rule 32(d), the court may permit withdrawal of a guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere upon a showing by the defendant of any fair and just reason, if the defendant moves to withdraw his plea before imposition of the sentence. Windsor's counsel did not file a Rule 32(d) motion before the ...


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