United States District Court, D. Delaware
Martinez, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE:
Oscar Martinez ("Plaintiff) filed this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his
constitutional rights. (D.I. 3) Plaintiff is incarcerated at the
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC) in Smyrna,
Delaware. He appears pro se and has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 5) The
Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(a). Also before
the Court are Plaintiffs request for counsel and motion for
partial summary judgment. (D.I. 7, 18)
filed his Complaint on May 15, 2017, followed by an Amended
Complaint on September5, 2017. (D.I. 3, 14)
August 3, 2009, Plaintiff was indicted in the Superior Court
of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County on the
charge of robbery in the first degree. See State v.
Martinet Case I.D. No. 0905009708 (Del. Super.) at D.I.
5; Martinez v. Metier, Civ. No. 17-956-LPS (D. Del.)
D.I. 1 Ex. I at D.I. 5. On September 14, 2009, Plaintiff pled
guilty to robbery in the second degree. Id. at D.I.
10. On October 2, 2009, the State moved to declare Plaintiff
an habitual offender. Id. at D.I. 12. On November
16, 2009, Plaintiff moved to withdraw his guilty plea; the
motion was denied on December 11, 2009. Id. at D.I.
14, D.I. 16. On January 15, 2010, Plaintiff was sentenced to
10 years of imprisonment, followed by a period of probation.
Id. at D.I. 17. Plaintiff did not appeal.
February 19, 2010, Plaintiff filed a request for modification
of sentence. Id. at D.I. 18. The motion was denied
on March 10, 2010 because "the sentence imposed is
mandatory and cannot be reduced or suspended."
Id. at D.I. 19. Plaintiff filed his first motion for
postconviction relief on September 7, 2011, and his second
motion for postconviction relief on August 12, 2015.
Id. at D.I. 20, 31. Both motions were denied.
Id. at D.I. 26, 34.
March 8, 2017 and March 24, 2017, Plaintiff sought review of
his "habitual sentence." See Martinet Civ.
No. 17-956-LPS at D.I. 1 at 3; Ex. I at D.I. 46, 47. Therein,
Plaintiff raised the following ground for relief: S.B. 163,
effective July 19, 2016, allowed Plaintiff to apply to modify
his sentence under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f), as enacted by
80 Del. Laws ch. 321 (2016). The matter was summarily
dismissed without prejudice. See Id. Plaintiff also
filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Superior
Court, seeking immediate release to Level 4 Plummer Center
and raising the issue that H.B. 18,  effective April 13, 2017,
was illegal when passed. See Marline, Civ. No.
17-956-LPS, D.I. 1 at 4; Ex. I at D.I. 52. The petition was
denied on May 15, 2017. See id.
The May 15, 2017 order advised Plaintiff that he was not
eligible for relief under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f), for the
The 2016 Act that provides for review of sentences of certain
inmates whose sentences were imposed under the Habitual
Criminal Act in effect prior to July 19, 2016, has been
clarified recently. See 81 Del. Laws ch. 6 (2017).
Specifically, the General Assembly's intent in amending
the state's habitual offender law in 2016 was to address
situations where an inmate is serving a "minimum
sentence of not less than the statutory maximum penalty for a
violent felony pursuant to [previous § 4214(a)] . . .
not sentences where judges had already exercised complete
discretion." Del. H.B. 18 syn., 149th Gen. Assem., 81
Del. Laws ch. 6 (2017).
The offense for which you received a habitual criminal
sentence in IN09-05-1244 was robbery second degree.
See Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, §§ 824 and
4205(b)(5)(2009). In turn, the ten-year term the Court
imposed under then-existing § 4214(a) was a wholly
discretionary sentence (albeit the first five years were
required under then-existing § 4214(a)). See
Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 4214(a) (2009) (providing only
a minimum mandatory sentence equal to the statutory maximum
for one whose triggering offense is a violent Tide 11
felony). You did not receive your ten-year term as a
mandatory minimum sentence under the prior version of 11 Del.
C. § 4214(a). And so, you are not eligible for relief
under new 11 Del. C. § 4214(f).
Moreover, you seem to be under the misimpression that the new
provisions of 11 Del. C. 4214(a), (b), and (c) require the
Court to adjust the sentence of any inmate who is actually
eligible for review. But § 4214(g) has always been
clear: "[n]othing in  section , however, shall
require the Court to grant such a petitioner a sentence