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State v. Pettyjohn

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 2, 2015

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
SYLVESTER PETTYJOHN Defendant

Submitted: November 18, 2014

Upon Defendant's Motion to Suppress and Challenge Validity of Conviction.

ORDER

Charles E. Butler Judge

This 2nd day of February, 2015, upon consideration of Defendant's motion for postconviction relief, it appears to the Court that:

1. On December 10, 2010, Defendant, Sylvester Pettyjohn, pled guilty to one count of Possession of Heroin Within 1000' of a School. Defendant's sentence was imposed immediately following his guilty plea.

2. On November 18th, 2014, Defendant filed the instant motion, a "motion to suppress and challenge validity of conviction." It appears from the record that Defendant is not entitled to relief, and the motion is subject to summary dismissal.

3. Defendant argues that, because there was an ongoing "scandal" at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ("OCME") during the time of his guilty plea, the "conviction is unreliable and constitutionally flawed and should not be counted as a conviction for the purpose of" habitual offender sentencing.

4. The Delaware Supreme Court has held that "[a defendant]'s voluntary guilty plea constitutes a waiver of any alleged errors occurring before the entry of the plea. Absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, [a defendant] is bound by the answers on the Truth–in–Sentencing form and his . . . statements to the judge during the guilty plea colloquy."[1] The Court has also held that, through a voluntary and intelligent plea bargain, a Defendant forfeits his right to challenge the underlying strength of the charge to which he pleaded guilty.[2]

5. Regardless of whether there was ongoing malfeasance at the OCME, Defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily accepted responsibility for the crime by entering the guilty plea.

6. For the reasons set forth above, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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