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State v. Beal

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

October 19, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
RONALD D. BEAL Defendant.

         RK13-10-0016-01 D Deal Tier 4 (F)

         Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Nicole S. Hartman, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          Ronald D. Beal, Pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ANDREA M. FREUD, COMMISSIONER.

         The defendant, Ronald D. Beal ("Beal"), pled guilty on September 16, 2014, the day his trial was scheduled to commence, to one count of Drug Dealing Tier 4, 16 Del. C. § 4752(1). He was also facing four additional counts of Drug Dealing Tier 4, two counts of Drug dealing with an Aggravating factor, two counts of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, six counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, one count of Tier 3 Drug Possession with an Aggravating factor, one count of Tier 2 Drug Dealing with an Aggravating factor, five counts of Tier 5 Drug Possession, one count of Tier 1 Drug Possession with an Aggravating factor, one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance with an Aggravating factor, and one count of Possession of Marijuana with an Aggravating factor. Nolle prosequis were entered by the State on the twenty-four additional charges in exchange for Beal's plea.[1] Due to his past criminal history Beal faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison as an habitual offender had he been convicted at trial. As part of the plea the State agreed not to pursue habitual offender status for Beal and recommended twenty-five years incarceration followed by probation. After a lengthy plea colloquy and sentence comments by counsel and the Court did not accept the State's recommendation and instead sentenced Beal to twenty-five years incarceration suspended after serving twelve years for probation. Beal did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court. Beal filed a motion for reduction of sentence on December 2, 2014 which the Court denied on December 11, 2014. Next he filed the pending motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. Beal's request for appointment of counsel was denied. Next, briefing commenced. After briefing had been completed Beal filed a second motion for reduction of sentence which the Court also denied. Beal appealed the denial to the Delaware Supreme Court and the instant Rule 61 was stayed pending the appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the matter after Beal withdrew his appeal. Next Beal filed a second request for appointment of counsel which was denied. Beal appealed the ruling to the Delaware Supreme Court. This appeal was also dismissed and the mandate issued. After the file was returned from the Delaware Supreme Court the Rule 61 was sent back to Chambers for decision.

         Beal had been indicted on several different drug charges of which a number were nolle prossed early by the State due to concerns that the drugs in question had been sent to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner ("OCME"). The charge for which Beal pled guilty to involved his sale of a large amount of heroin to an undercover drug detective which occurred on July 10, 2013. The drugs were never sent to the OCME but were instead tested by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"). Beal admitted while under Miranda that he came to Kent County to sell drugs.

         REAL'S CONTENTIONS

In his motion for postconviction relief, Beal raises three grounds for relief:
Ground one: 16 Del. C. 4757; Illegally labeled as violent felony and sentence should not have been enhanced.
In U.S. Supreme Court decision, Johnson v. U.S., 2015 WL 2473450 the court held that labeling offenses as violent without the risk of serious injury is unconstitutional and violates a defendant's due process.
Ground two: Ineffective assistance of counsel.
Attorney failed to fully investigate the scandal at the OCME drug lab. Which directly affected my case, resulting in several charges being Nolle Prosequi. Therefore ...

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