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State v. Vincent

Superior Court of Delaware

January 28, 2019

State of Delaware
v.
Jeffrey G. Vincent

          Daniel A. Strumpf, Esquire Office of the Defence Services

          William T. Deely, Esquire Schwartz & Schwartz, P.A.

         Dear Counsel and Mr. Vincent:

         This is my decision on Rule 61 Counsel's Motion to Withdraw as Counsel and Defendant Jeffrey G. Vincent's Motion for Postconviction Relief. On July 19, 2017, Vincent was arrested and charged with Rape in the First Degree, Attempted Rape in the First Degree, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, and Unlawful Sexual Contact in the First Degree. The charges arose out of Vincent's rape of his girlfriend's aunt. At the time of the rape, Vincent had been temporarily living at the victim's residence. Vincent admitted to nearly every detail of the victim's allegations during his interview with the police. On November 22, 2017, Vincent pled guilty to one count each of Rape in the First Degree and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. The plea agreement specified that the State would drop Vincent's remaining charges and recommend a sentence of 50 years at Level 5, suspended after serving 33 years at Level 5 for 8 years at Level 3 probation on the charge of Rape in the First Degree, and 25 years at Level 5, suspended after serving 2 years at Level 5 for 2 years at Level 3 probation on the charge of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. I sentenced Vincent in accordance with the State's recommendation in the plea agreement. However, the initial Sentencing Order failed to give Vincent credit for 126 days that he had previously served and to specify the custody period on the rape charge. I issued a corrected Sentencing Order on November 30, 2017.

         On April 13, 2018, Vincent filed a Motion for Postconviction Relief. Rule 61 Counsel was assigned to Vincent. Vincent alleges 1) that Trial Counsel told him after he had taken the plea that the prosecutor had told Trial Counsel that the prosecutor had "no case," 2) that he was mentally and emotionally impaired when he pled guilty, and 3) that he did not receive the sentence that he agreed to in the plea agreement. After a thorough review of the record, Rule 61 Counsel believes none of Vincent's claims for relief are meritorious. Rule 61 Counsel has filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Vincent.

         Motion to Withdraw as Counsel

         I will first consider Rule 61 Counsel's Motion to Withdraw. Rule 61(e)(2) provides:

If counsel considers the movant's claim to be so lacking in merit that counsel cannot ethically advocate it, and counsel is not aware of any other substantial ground for relief available to the movant, counsel may move to withdraw. The motion shall explain the factual and legal basis for counsel's opinion and shall give notice that the movant may file a response to the motion within 30 days of service of the motion upon the movant.

         In his Motion to Withdraw, Rule 61 Counsel stated that he reviewed the trial record, discovery materials, other documents from Vincent and Trial Counsel, and records from the Department of Correction. Rule 61 Counsel represents that he performed a detailed and thorough investigation into Vincent's grounds for relief, and determined each to be without merit. Rule 61 Counsel further represented that, following a careful review of the record, he found no other substantial ground for relief available to the Vincent. The Motion to Withdraw includes a detailed description of both the factual and legal basis for Rule 61 Counsel's opinion and properly informed Vincent that he would have 30 days to respond. Vincent did not respond.

         I also conducted my own review of the record, and am satisfied that Rule 61 Counsel properly determined that Vincent does not have a meritorious claim. For the above reasons, Rule 61 Counsel's Motion to Withdraw is GRANTED.

         Rule 61 Counsel is reminded about his continuing duty under Rule 61 (e)(7)(h) regarding notification to Vincent.

         Motion For Postconviction Relief

         This is Vincent's first Motion for Postconviction Relief and it was filed in a timely manner. Rule 61 Counsel was assigned to Vincent. Vincent alleges 1) that Trial Counsel told him after he had taken the plea that the prosecutor had told Trial Counsel that the prosecutor had "no case," 2) that he was mentally and emotionally impaired when he pled guilty, and 3) that he did not receive the sentence that he agreed to in the plea agreement. Rule 61 Counsel has found Vincent's claims to be without merit. Trial Counsel has filed an affidavit in response to Vincent's allegations.

         I. Ineffective ...


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