Submitted: June 8, 2018
Defendant's Request for a Certificate of Eligibility to
File Under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f) and Del. Super. Ct.
Spec. R. 2017-1(d), GRANTED.
H. Robinson, Jr., Esquire David Hume, IV, Chief Prosecutor,
Sussex County Gregory E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General.
R. Wallace, Judge.
11th day of June, 2018, upon consideration of the
Defendant Samuel L. Harris's Request for a Certificate of
Eligibility (D.I. 71), the Attorney General's response
thereto (D.I. 72) and the record in this matter, it appears
to the Court that:
November 12, 1998, following a one-day trial, a Superior
Court jury convicted the Defendant Samuel L. Harris of Escape
After Conviction. He was resentenced on September 27, 1999,
after the State's habitual criminal petition was
granted. This Court then imposed the minimum
required: eight years at Level V to be served under the
provisions of the then-extant Habitual Criminal
Harris has requested a certificate of eligibility to file a
petition seeking exercise of the Court's jurisdiction to
modify his escape sentence under recently enacted 11 Del.
C. § 4214(f). The Attorney General has
responded and been provided an opportunity to be
heard. The Court has carefully considered the
parties' positions as to whether Harris may be granted a
certificate of eligibility in the peculiar circumstance and
procedural posture presented. He may.
Harris meets the type-of-sentence eligibility requirement set
forth in 11 Del. C. § 4214(f). Harris also meets
the time-served eligibility requirements set forth in 11
Del. C. § 4214(f). Lastly, the Attorney
General has not, "by specific averment, "
demonstrated "that there is a good faith basis to
believe that ... a petition [by Harris] . . . may not be
heard because the felony establishing [Harris] 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. 2017-1](d)(11)." Instead, the
Attorney General has agreed the Court should grant Harris a
certificate of eligibility. It does appear from a review
of the Court's docket, however, 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 that those
petitions must be "heard first, " i.e.,
before Harris's, under the applicable statutes and this
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that
Harris's Request for a Certificate of Eligibility is
GRANTED and he may file a petition seeking
exercise of this Court's jurisdiction to modify his
sentence under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f) and Del.
Super. Ct. Spec. R. 2017-1(d). Any such petition should be
addressed to the undersigned judge. Upon a determination that
all petitions that must be "heard first, " have
been,  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
Harris's sentence will be modified. That judgment will be
left to the sole discretion of the Court. And nothing
in amended Section 4214 or the Court's rules shall
require the Court to grant Harris a sentence
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 Harris's attorney of record, or his
designee, access to such materials and information without
to Prothonotary - Sussex County