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State v. Smith

Superior Court of Delaware

June 21, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
CHARLESE A. SMITH, Defendant.

          Submitted: March 21, 2017

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR A CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY TO FILE UNDER 11 DEL. C. § 4214(F) AND DEL. SUPER. CT. SPEC. R. 2017-L(D)

          Abigail M LeGrow, Judge.

         This 21st day of June, 2017, upon consideration of the Request for Certification of Eligibility filed on behalf of Charlese A. Smith, [1] the Attorney General's response thereto, [2] and the record in this matter, it appears to the Court that:

         1. On April 22, 2003, following a two-day trial, a Superior Court jury convicted Smith of two counts of Burglary Second Degree, two counts of Forgery Second Degree, and one count of Theft-Misdemeanor.[3] Smith's sentencing occurred on May 29, 2003, after a pre-sentence investigative report was prepared and the State had filed a habitual criminal petition.[4] Smith was sentenced to the minimum required: a term of natural life imprisonment for the triggering offense of second degree burglary (IN02-05-0351), for which the State sought habitual criminal sentencing under the then-extant Habitual Criminal Act.[5] Smith received suspended or probated terms for the other burglary count, the forgeries, and the misdemeanor theft conviction.[6] The sentencing order notes that Smith's habitual criminal sentence was effective on December 31, 2002.[7]

         2. Smith requests a certificate of eligibility to file a petition seeking exercise of the Court's jurisdiction to modify the sentence under recently enacted 11 Del. C. § 4214(f).[8] The Attorney General responded, [9] joining Smith's request and asking the Court to grant Smith a certificate of eligibility.[10]

         3. The Court may consider such a request "without presentation, hearing, or argument unless otherwise ordered by the court."[11] The Court will decide this request on the papers filed.

         4. Smith meets the type-of-sentence and time-served eligibility requirements set forth in 11 Del. C. § 4214(f).[12] The Attorney General has not demonstrated "by specific averment" that "there is a good faith basis to believe that ... a petition [by Smith] . . . may not be heard because the felony establishing [Smith] as a habitual offender is one for which review is [not now]-permitted as provided for in 11 Del. C. § 4214(f) and [Del. Super. Ct. Spec. R. 2017-l](d)(l l)."[13] The Attorney General instead has moved the Court to grant Smith a certificate of eligibility.[14] It does, however, appear from a review of the Court's docket that there are current "petitions filed pursuant to [11 Del. C. § 4214(f)] where the felony establishing an inmate as a habitual offender was a Title 16 offense, " and those petitions must be "heard first, " i.e., before Smith's, under the applicable statutes and this Court's rules.[15]

         FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, IT IS ORDERED that Smith's Request for a Certificate of Eligibility is GRANTED and Smith may file a petition seeking exercise of this Court's jurisdiction to modify the sentence under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f) and Del. Super. Ct. Spec. R. 2017-1(d). Any such petition SHALL be addressed to the undersigned judge. Upon a determination that all petitions which must be "heard first, " have been, [16] the Court will schedule further proceedings in this matter. This grant of a certificate of eligibility to seek relief is not a ruling on whether Smith's sentence will be modified. That judgment will be left to the sole discretion of the Court.[17] Furthermore, nothing in amended Section 4214 or the Court's rules shall require the Court to grant Smith a sentence modification.[18]

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Department of Correction and the Department of Justice SHALL, consistent with a memorandum of understanding entered (or other protocols devised) for the express purpose of facilitating the lawful and efficient transfer of materials and information required for consideration of a petition under 11 Del. C.§ 4214(f) and Del. Super. Ct. Spec. R. 2017-1(d), provide to Smith's attorney of record, or her designee, access to such materials and information without undue delay.[19]

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Notes:

[1]Defendant's name was changed from Charles Clement Smith to Charlese Anne Smith by order of the Court of Common Pleas dated June 20, 2016. See In re Charles Clement Smith, C.A. No. CPU4-16-001121 (Del. Com. PI. June 20, 2016) (ORDER).

[2]D.I. 58.

[3]11 Del. C. § 825 (2001) (burglary second degree); id. § 861 (forgery second degree); id. ...


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