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State v. Feliciano

Superior Court of Delaware

June 8, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondent/Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL A. FELICIANO, Petitioner/Defendant.

          Submitted: March 9, 2018

          Michael A. Feliciano, JTV, Petitioner, pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S SECOND MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF

          Bradley V. Manning Commissioner.

         This 8th day of June 2018, upon consideration of petitioner Michael A. Feliciano's Motion for Postconviction Relief (hereinafter the "Motion"), I find and recommend the following:

         FACTS

         According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, Feliciano and his brother, Mark, lived with their parents at 6 Farnsworth Drive in Newark, Delaware. At the time of the offense in December 1988, their mother ran an unlicensed in-home daycare at that address. On December 23, 1988, the first victim, a three-year-old girl, spent the day at the daycare and was picked up by her mother at approximately 5:20 p.m. and taken home. Once home, the girl complained of pain when she went to the bathroom and her mother noticed that her vagina was bleeding. The girl was taken to a hospital where a doctor examined her and advised that there had been some type of intrusion into the girl's vagina and that there was evidence of tearing and contusions as well. Upon interview by the police, the girl recounted how "Mike" told her that they were going to play a game. She advised that Mike told her if she took her pants off he would give her a lollipop. After she took her pants off, Mike got on top of her and "hurt her." When asked where Mike "hurt her" the girl pointed to her vagina. Police subsequently located a shirt that Michael indicated belonged to him that had two small blood stains on the front shirt tail. Police showed the girl pictures of Defendant and his brother Mark. The girl identified "Mike" as the one who hurt her and pointed to the picture of Defendant.

         On December 31, 1988, a mother who had been using the same daycare for over a year took her seven-year-old daughter to the hospital because she suspected that she had been sexually assaulted. Police responded to the hospital and interviewed this second victim. This second girl recounted to police, in detail, how Mark Feliciano had sexually assaulted her on the night of December 22, 1988, when she had spent the night. She detailed how Mark had put his penis into her vagina and moved up and down and that it was very painful. She stated that this had happened to her several times while she stayed at the house and that Michael had also done this to her on several occasions. The second victim was unsure of the exact dates; however, her mother advised police that she had been taking her daughter to the daycare since November of 1987.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Feliciano was indicted on February 4, 1989, for three counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse First Degree. On September 5, 1989, Feliciano pled guilty to one amended count of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse Second Degree. The remaining counts of the indictment were dropped in exchange. Feliciano was represented by counsel and was sentenced immediately to the statutorily mandated sentence of Life in prison[1]. Feliciano did not appeal his conviction to the Delaware Supreme Court. In June of 2001, and again in 2007, Feliciano sought relief with the Board of Parole, however, his requests were denied.

         Feliciano filed his first motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61, pro se, on July 11, 2013.[2] The Court subsequently appointed Defendant counsel ("Rule 61 Counsel") for his pro se Rule 61 Motion. On August 4, 2014, Rule 61 Counsel filed a Non-Merit Brief and Motion to Withdraw as Counsel under Rule 61(e)(2). The State filed a Response on December l8, 2Ol4.[3]

         I issued a Report and Recommendation that Feliciano's first motion for postconviction relief should be denied. Receiving no objections, my Report was adopted by President Judge Jurden on July 29, 2015.[4] In the interim, Feliciano filed a motion for reduction of sentence that was also denied on April 14, 2016.[5] Feliciano subsequently filed the instant, and now second Motion, on March 5, 2018.[6] Based on my review of Feliciano's Motion, the Court's file, and the guilty plea and sentencing transcript, I did not order additional briefing or hold an evidentiary hearing.

         In his Motion, Feliciano raises two grounds for postconviction relief, which I have summarized, as follows:

Ground One: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Defense counsel was aware that his client had a diminished mental capacity as defined by the lawyer's rules of professional conduct section 1.14; that his mother was present to speak on his behalf as his guardian at sentencing; that counsel allowed defendant to sign a plea to life in prison without first obtaining a pre-sentence evaluation; that defendant had no prior criminal convictions prior to entering his guilty plea; and that counsel knowingly allowed defendant to falsely answer that he has never been a patient in a mental hospital.
Ground Two: Due Process [violation]. Defendant believes that he was denied his due process due to his counsel not requesting a mental health evaluation or a pre-sentence evaluation and that counsel was informed by defendant's mother several times about his ...

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