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State v. Williams

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 19, 2015

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
SHAWN E. WILLIAMS, Defendant.

Submitted: January 21, 2015

Barzilai Axelrod, Deputy Attorney General Kevin P. O'Neill, Esquire Mr. Shawn E. Williams, pro se Investigative Services Office

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REDUCE SENTENCE

PAUL R. WALLACE, JUDGE

This 19th day of February, 2015, upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion for Sentence Reduction and Modification and the record in this matter, it appears to the Court that:

(1) In August 2014, Defendant Shawn E. Williams pleaded guilty to four crimes: Drug Dealing in Heroin (as a class D felony), Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Drug Dealing in Heroin (as a class B felony), and Resisting Arrest.[1] The offenses arose from two different criminal episodes but, because Williams waived indictment and entered into one dispositive plea agreement, they were heard in one proceeding.[2]

(2) His sentencing occurred several months later, on November 7, 2014, after a pre-sentence investigative report was prepared. Williams was sentenced to serve: Drug Dealing (N14-07-20791 - a class B felony) -two years at Level V during which he is to participate in the Key program;[3] Drug Dealing (IN 14-06-0879 - a class D felony) - eight years at Level V suspended for 8 years at Level IV-Crest suspended after six months for 18 months of Level III-Crest Aftercare.[4] The sentence has an effective date of July 19, 2014, and the two years of imprisonment for Drug Dealing-Tier 4 Weight (N14-07-20791), because it is a class B felony, is a minimum term of incarceration that must be imposed and cannot be suspended or reduced.[5]Williams filed no direct appeal from his convictions or sentences.

(3) Williams now has filed the present motion under Superior Court Criminal Rule 35(b) requesting reduction or elimination of the Level V and IV terms of his sentences for the drug dealing charges.[6] In short, Williams requests that his Level V term be suspended upon completion of the Key program and that he go directly to Level III after he has completed the Key program, eliminating the Level IV treatment component of his current sentence. This relief is appropriate, he claims, because: (1) once he completes the Key program he will be rehabilitated; (2) he has familial care and financial obligations; (3) his remorse; and (4) he has a job waiting for him upon release.[7]

(4) The Court may consider Williams's motion "without presentation, hearing or argument."[8] The Court will decide his motion on the papers filed[9] and the complete sentencing record in Williams's case.

(5) The intent of Superior Court Criminal Rule 35(b) has historically been to provide a reasonable period for the Court to consider alteration of its sentencing judgments.[10] Where a motion for reduction of sentence is filed within 90 days of sentencing, the Court has broad discretion to decide if it should alter its judgment.[11] 'The reason for such a rule is to give a sentencing judge a second chance to consider whether the initial sentence is appropriate."[12] But, while the Court has wide discretion to reduce a sentence upon a timely Rule 35 application, the Court has no authority to reduce or suspend the mandatory portion of any substantive statutory minimum sentence.[13]

(6) As noted above, the two years of imprisonment for one count of drug dealing (N14-07-2079I), because that offense is a class B felony, is a minimum term of incarceration that must be imposed and cannot be suspended or reduced.[14] Williams's requested modification of the Court's sentencing order would not require him to serve two years at Level V. It would only require him to complete the Key program (which could take far less than two years) before he would be released from Level V. That would clearly violate the two-year minimum at Level V set out in 11 Del. C. § 4205(b).[15] In turn, the Court must deny Williams's motion to reduce his Level V term for the class B drug dealing count (N14-07-20791).

(7) Williams has also requested that the Court eliminate the Level IV-Crest portion of his sentence imposed for the other drug dealing offense (IN 14-06-0879). That Level IV term, i.e., a period in a highly structured community-based supervision setting with substance abuse treatment complimentary to that engaged in the Key program, is a component of his sentence that is integral to the Court's overall "sentencing scheme" or "plan."[16] Here the Court found that a term of Level IV supervision in such a setting would best address Williams's treatment needs and facilitate his transition to lower levels of supervision and to society. The Court has fully reviewed Williams's application, the record of the two subject cases, Williams's supervision history, and all sentencing information available. The Court finds the Level IV-Crest term of the sentence remains appropriate for the reasons stated at the time of sentencing. In turn, the Court will exercise its discretion'[17] under Rule 35(b) and deny Williams's request to reduce or modify the Level IV term of his sentence.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Shawn E. Williams's motion for reduction or modification of sentence is DENIED.

SO ORDERED


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