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Miller v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

December 9, 2014

JEROME T. MILLER, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee

Submitted October 22, 2014

Case Closed December 29, 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 No. 1110012379.

Before HOLLAND, RIDGELY, and VALIHURA, Justices.

ORDER

Henry duPont Ridgely, Justice

This 9th day of December 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) In January 2012, the appellant, Jerome Miller, was indicted for Aggravated Menacing, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony (" PDWDCF" ), Attempted Strangulation, and Assault in the Third Degree. These charges arose from Miller's October 18, 2011 attack on his then-wife. Miller was ordered not to contact his wife as part of his bail conditions.

(2) On February 29, 2012, in anticipation of a March 5, 2012 case review, the State made a plea offer. Under the February 29, 2012 plea offer, Miller would plead guilty to Aggravated Menacing, Attempted Strangulation, and Assault in the Third Degree and the State would agree to enter a nolle prosequi on the remaining charges. The State and Miller would also agree to recommend the following sentence: (i) for Aggravated Menacing, five years of Level V incarceration, suspended after one year for two years of Level III supervision with GPS monitoring as well as an evaluation for entry into the Mental Health Court program; (ii) for Attempted Strangulation, eight years of Level V incarceration, suspended after two years for two years of Level III supervision; and (iii) for Assault in the Third Degree, one year of Level V incarceration, suspended for one year of Level III supervision. The maximum penalty for these charges was fourteen years of Level V incarceration.

(3) The prosecutor stated that he did not plan to attend the review hearing. The prosecutor did not attend the March 5, 2012 hearing. Miller's counsel provided the plea offer to Miller on March 5, 2012.

(4) The State made another plea offer on March 8, 2012. According to the prosecutor, Miller had rejected the February 29, 2012 plea offer. The February 29, 2012 and March 8, 2012 plea offers were substantially similar, but the March 8, 2012 plea offer increased the recommendation of non-suspended Level V time for Aggravated Menacing from one year to two years and provided that the two years of probation for Attempted Strangulation would be consecutive rather than concurrent. The State indicated that the March 8, 2012 plea offer had to be accepted by March 14, 2012. The State also stated that if Miller did not accept the plea offer by March 14, 2012, it would return to the grand jury and seek an indictment against Miller for Breach of Conditions of Bail During Commitment and Tampering with a Witness based upon multiple letters Miller had sent to his wife in violation of the no contact order.

(5) Miller's counsel did not communicate the plea offer to Miller because he had concerns regarding Miller's mental health and he did not approve of the short deadline for acceptance set by the prosecutor. On March 13, 2012, Miller's counsel informed the prosecutor that he would not be responding to the plea offer by March 14, 2012, but would discuss it with his client and get back to him. On March 15, 2012, Miller's counsel filed a Motion for Mental Examination. On March 19, 2012, the grand jury issued a superseding indictment. In addition to the original charges, the indictment added eighteen counts of Breach of Conditions of Bail During Commitment and seven counts of Tampering with a Witness.

(6) On March 25, 2012, the Superior Court granted the Motion for Mental Examination. Miller was evaluated by the Delaware Psychiatric Center (" DPC" ). DPC determined that ...


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