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State v. Moore

Superior Court of Delaware

June 27, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
Earle D. Moore, Defendant.

          DATE SUBMITTED: MARCH 12, 2018

          Renee L. Hrivnak, Esquire, Delaware Department of Justice, Attorney for the State.

          John S. Edinger, Jr., Esquire, Office of Defense Services, Defense Counsel.

          Earle D. Moore, pro se, Defendant.

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

          MANNING, Commissioner.

         This 27th day of June 2018, upon consideration of defendant Earle D. Moore's Amended Motion for Postconviction Relief[1] ("Motion"), I find and recommend the following:

         Procedural History

         Moore pled guilty to Assault First Degree, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony (PDWDCF) and Burglary Second Degree, on June 15, 2015. As part of the plea agreement, the State agreed to discharge a pending Violation of Probation as unimproved. The plea agreement indicated that the State would seek to declare Moore a habitual offender pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4121(a) as to the Burglary Second Degree and PDWDCF charges. The plea agreement indicated no specific recommendation as to sentencing and stated "open sentencing." The Truth in Sentencing form correctly listed the sentence ranges for each charge and that Moore would face a minimum mandatory sentence of at least 35 years at Level Five. A pre-sentence investigation was requested. The plea agreement indicates that Moore wished to pled Guilty But Mentally 111 (GBMI), however, the State opposed this request and requested a hearing pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 408(a). On June 30, 2015, the Court issued an order finding that the facts presented did not support a guilty but mentally ill plea.[2] Moore was offered an opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea at that time but declined to do so and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered.[3]

         On November 13, 2015, Moore was sentenced as a Habitual Offender to 37 years of unsuspended Level Five time, followed by probation. Moore did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court. On September 30, 2016, Moore filed a first motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Superior Ct. Crim. Rule 61. The Motion was referred to the undersigned commissioner on October 5, 2016. After numerous requests by Moore to enlarge the record and for extensions of time, all of which were granted by the Court, Moore filed an amended Motion on September 19, 2017. Defense Counsel and the State both subsequently filed Responses on February 15, 2018, and March 12, 2018, respectively. Moore did not file a Reply.

         Upon my review of the pleadings in this matter, I did not deem it necessary to hold an evidentiary hearing based on the nature of Moore's allegations.

         Moore's claims for postconviction relief can be summarized as follows:

Ground One: Ineffective assistance of counsel during the initial of his plea negotiation such that it questions the validity of the plea as to whether it was knowingly and voluntarily made.
Ground Two: Brady Violation. The State failed to disclose reports tending to show that the victim was the aggressor in previous domestic incidents.
Ground Three: Trial counsel showed no loyalty and made disparaging statements about him to the victim about him, including that he was an animal and should die in prison and that he would allow the State prosecutor to do what they wanted to him.
Ground Four: Ineffective assistance of Counsel. Counsel failed to contact any witness for the movant and did not investigate the case. Counsel also failed to present highly mitigating evidence due to his own personal feelings toward movant.
Ground Five: Ineffective assistance of Counsel. Counsel failed to make the movant aware of the penalty he faced by telling him he would be able to receive an amount of goodtime credits impossible for ...

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