for Kent County RK15-02-0051-01 Rape 2nd (F)
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to
Superior Court Criminal Rule 61
Weeks-Tappan, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of
Justice, for the State of Delaware.
Fletcher E. Tilghman, Pro se.
M. Freud Commissioner.
defendant, Fletcher E. Tilghman ("Tilghman"), pled
nolo contendre the day of his trial, October 5, 2015
to one count of Rape in the Second Degree, 11 Del.
C. § 772. He was also facing six additional counts
of Rape in the Second Degree, one count of a sex offender
having Unlawful Sexual Contact Against a Child and two counts
of Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second Degree. Had he gone
to trial and been convicted as charged he faced 175 years and
70 years minimum mandatory on the seven counts of Rape in the
Second Degree. In exchange for his plea the State entered
nolle prosequis on the additional charges. The
parties recommended that Fletcher be sentenced to twenty-five
years, suspended after ten years minimum mandatory for
probation. The Court agreed with the recommended sentence and
immediately sentenced Tilghman accordingly.
did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware
Supreme Court. On January 13, 2016 he filed his first motion
for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal
Rule 61. Then on April 22, 2016, he filed an amended motion.
charges stem from Fletcher's repeated sexual intercourse
with the fourteen year-old niece of Fletcher's
girlfriend. The abuse came to light when Fletcher's
girlfriend, Brook Willey, walked into her living room one
evening and saw Fletcher having intercourse with the victim,
her fourteen year-old niece. The victim was taken to be
interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center where she detailed
the lengthy extent of Fletcher's repeated sexual abuse.
Tilghman was a registered sex offender at the time of this
original motion, he raises the following grounds for relief:
Ground one: Sixth Amendment.
Superior Court violated defendant's right to due process
guaranteed by the United States and Delaware Constitution
when it failed to answer defendant's Motion to Withdrawl
(sic) Counsel and to inquire sufficiently and timely into the
actual conflict of interest and/or irreconcilable conflict
that existed between defendant and counsel.
Ground two: Coerced into taking a Guilty Plea.
Attorney Suzanne Macpherson-Johnson coerced defendant into
guilty plea stating that she couldn't win a favorable
outcome and that State would file for habitual offender and I
would be given a life term and that being as though this is
Kent County and with Judge Witham being my presiding judge
it's a guaranteed guilty verdict, even though I've
always claim (sic) my innocence pertaining to this case.
Ground Three: Suppression of Favorable Evidence.
Counsel failed to give defendant copies of tangible objects,
documents, test and any reports of examination on advice ...