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State v. Douglas

Superior Court of Delaware

October 16, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
DARYL E. DOUGLAS, Defendant.

          Submitted: July 16, 2018

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR CORRECTION OF AN "ILLEGAL" SENTENCE

         This 16th day of October, 2018, upon consideration of the Defendant's pro se "Motion for Correction of and Illegal Sentence Pursuant to Super. Ct. R. 35(a)" (D.I. 101) and the record in this matter, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) On May 3, 2004, a Superior Court Jury convicted the Defendant Daryl E. Douglas of Robbery in the First Degree, Aggravated Menacing, two counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony (PFDCF), Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony and Conspiracy in the Second Degree. [1] When convicted, Douglas had at least two prior armed robbery convictions and was, therefore, a habitual criminal offender. [2] His sentencing occurred on June 25, 2004, after the State had filed a habitual criminal petition. [3] Douglas was sentenced to the minimum required for the first degree robbery as a triggering felony under the then-extant three-strikes provision of the Habitual Criminal Act: a natural life term of imprisonment. [4] He received a consecutive cumulative thirty-two-year prison term for the PFDCF, disguise and conspiracy counts associated with the robbery. [5]

         (2) Douglas has now filed the present motion requesting that the Court "correct his sentence" that he posits "was made illegal by the adoption into law of 80 Del. Laws ch. 321 (2016)", i.e., the recent revisions of Delaware's Habitual Criminal Act. [6]

         (3) Criminal Rule 35(a) permits this Court to correct an illegal sentence "at any time." [7] Relief under Rule 35(a) is available when, inter alia, the sentence imposed: exceeds the statutorily-authorized limits; omits a term required to be imposed by statute; is uncertain as to its substance, or is a sentence that the judgment of conviction did not authorize. [8]

         (4) According to Douglas, because there is now some avenue for review of certain habitual criminal sentences, his sentence has been "abolished" and therefore he should be granted "immediate" modification of his sentence. [9] But Douglas's life sentence does not exceed the statutorily-authorized limits of either the former or current Habitual Criminal Act. [10] And so, relief under Rule 35(a) is not available.

         (5) Instead, Douglas may at some point be eligible to seek review of his sentence under 11 Del. C. § 42l4(f)-just not yet. [11]

          (6) It appears that Douglas does meet the type-of-sentence eligibility requirement set forth in 11 Del. C. § 4214(f). [12] But as the Office of Defense Services undoubtedly told him, [13] Douglas does not meet the time-served eligibility requirement set forth in 11 Del. C. § 4214(f). [14]

         (7) Under § 4214(f), an inmate meets the time-served eligibility requirement when he "has served a sentence of incarceration equal to any applicable mandatory sentence otherwise required by [the new provisions of 11 Del. C. § 4214] or the statutes describing said offense or offenses [for which the inmate was sentenced], whichever is greater." [15]

         (8) Under current 11 Del. C. § 4214(d), Douglas, who was twice before convicted of Title 11 violent felonies must receive a minimum sentence of not less than the statutory maximum penalty otherwise provided for the triggering first degree robbery conviction (IS03-09-0150) that is the Title 11 violent felony that formed the basis of the State's habitual criminal petition. So Douglas must serve a minimum of 25 years for the triggering first degree robbery conviction (IS03-09-0150) before he can be deemed eligible for § 4214(f) consideration. [16] He has not yet. [17]

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Daryl E. Douglass Rule 35(a) motion sentence is DENIED.

---------

Notes:

[1] Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 832 (2003) (robbery first degree); id. at tit. 11, § 602(b) (aggravated menacing); id. at tit. 11, § 1447A (PFDCF); id. at ยง 1239 (wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony); ...


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