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State v. Klaft

Superior Court of Delaware, Sussex

February 27, 2015

State of Delaware
v.
Gary R. Klaft, Def.

SUBMITTED: February 2, 2015

Dear Mr. Funk and Mr. Klaft:

Pending before the Court is the motion of Gary R. Klaft ("defendant") for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61").[1] Alexander W. Funk, Esquire, was appointed as counsel to represent defendant in connection with this motion. Postconviction counsel has filed a motion to withdraw pursuant to Rule 61(e)(2). Defendant has been given the opportunity to respond to postconviction counsel's submission but he has not submitted anything. The motion so clearly is meritless that the Court does not need submissions from trial counsel or the State of Delaware ("the State"). This is my decision denying the motion for postconviction relief.

On or about March 4, 2013, defendant was arrested on the following charges: rape in the second degree without consent in violation of 11 Del. C. § 772; sex offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child in violation of 11 Del. C. § 777A (two counts); sexual exploitation of a child in violation of 11 Del. C. § 1108; unlawful dealing in child pornography in violation of 11 Del. C. § 1109; rape in the fourth degree in violation of 11 Del. C. § 770; and unlawful sexual contact 2nd degree in violation of 11 Del. C. § 768. The information filed against him charged him with sex offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child in violation of 11 Del. C. § 777A (2 counts); sexual exploitation of a child in violation of 11 Del. C. § 1108; unlawfully dealing in child pornography in violation of 11 Del. C. § 1109; and unlawful sexual contact in the second degree in violation of 11 Del. C. § 768.

On August 7, 2013, defendant pled guilty to a count of rape in the fourth degree (a lesser included offense of the charge of sex offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child) as well as to a count of sex offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child. He was to be sentenced as a habitual offender on the rape fourth conviction. At the time of the plea, trial counsel explained that she had been over the habitual offender paperwork and defendant qualified to be sentenced as such.

After being placed under oath, defendant verified the following information. He had had enough time to talk with his attorney about the case; he was satisfied with her representation and had no complaints; he had reviewed the plea agreement and Truth-in-Sentencing Form ("TIS Form") and his attorney had explained the information in those forms to him; as to the TIS Form, trial counsel read the questions to him and he provided honest answers to those questions; trial counsel explained the charges to which he was pleading guilty; trial counsel reviewed the evidence and penalties of law with him; he understood the sentence he was facing pursuant to the plea; he understood he was to be declared an habitual offender and he could be jailed for the rest of his life based upon that declaration; he understood that such a declaration would mean that he could be facing a life sentence should he be convicted of other crimes and sentenced in the future; and he understood that his probation on the sex offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child conviction will be longer than usual to protect the safety of potential victims in the community. By signing the guilty plea and TIS Form, defendant affirmed the following:

* He was freely and voluntarily pleading guilty;
* He was not threatened or forced into pleading guilty;
* He understood he was waiving his Constitutional trial rights;
* He understood the potential prison sentence;
* He was satisfied with his trial counsel's representation of him;
* He understood all of the information contained in the forms; and
* His answers were truthful.

Defendant admitted to the crimes. The Court found defendant was "making a knowing, intelligent, and voluntarily [sic] decision"[2] and entered judgments of conviction. Additionally, after review of the petition seeking to have defendant declared an habitual offender, the ...


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