Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Huffman v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 7, 2019

FRED HUFFMAN, Defendant Below- Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below- Appellee.

          Submitted: June 7, 2019

          Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No. 1112004258 (N).

          Before STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.

          ORDER

          Karen L. Valihura Justice.

         After careful consideration of the appellant's opening brief, the State's motion to affirm, and the record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:

(1) Fred Huffman appeals two Superior Court orders: (i) the Superior Court's denial of his motion for credit for time served; and (ii) the Superior Court's denial of his petition for redesignation of tier assignment or, in the alternative, removal from the sex offender registry ("the petition for relief"). The State has filed a motion to affirm the judgment below on the ground that it is manifest on the face of the opening brief that his appeal is without merit. We agree and affirm.
(2) The record reflects that Huffman pleaded guilty in September 2012 to one charge of unlawful sexual intercourse in the second degree. After a presentence investigation, the Superior Court sentenced Huffman to twenty years of Level V incarceration, suspended after ten years for decreasing levels of supervision. A condition of his sentence was to register as a Tier III sex offender. Huffman did not file a direct appeal.
(3) On June 26, 2014, Huffman filed a motion for postconviction relief under Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61"). The Superior Court denied the motion, concluding that Huffman was challenging his sentence rather than his conviction and, therefore, Rule 61 was not applicable. We affirmed on appeal, finding that many of Huffman's claims fell outside the scope of Rule 61 and that the remaining claims were procedurally barred.[1] In March of 2017, Huffman filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Superior Court Criminal Rule 35 ("Rule 35"). The Superior Court denied the motion and we affirmed.[2]
(4) On January 24, 2019, Huffman filed the petition for relief, which the Superior Court denied on the record after a February 4, 2019 hearing. The following day, Huffman filed a motion for credit for his time spent outside of prison after posting bail. The Superior Court considered the motion to be a motion to modify filed under Rule 35(b) and denied it, finding: (i) the sentence was imposed pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement; (ii) no extraordinary circumstances existed to excuse the 90-day deadline for filing a Rule 35(b) motion; (iii) the motion was repetitive; and (iv) the sentence remained appropriate for all the reasons stated at sentencing. This appeal followed.
(5) On appeal, Huffman asserts a number of repetitive and somewhat confusing claims that can be summarized as follows: (i) the Superior Court erred in denying his petition for relief and, in so doing, denied Huffman the opportunity to present constitutional challenges to his sentence and the sex offender registry requirements; (ii) the Superior Court exhibited bias in denying his motion for credit for time served as untimely filed under Rule 35(b); (iii) the Superior Court erred in considering his motion for credit for time served as a motion to modify his sentence; and (iv) the Superior Court incorrectly denied him credit for the time period when he was free on bail.
(6) With respect to Huffman's challenges to the Superior Court's order denying his petition for relief, his failure to include the transcript of the Superior Court's order precludes our review of his claims related to that hearing.[3] In any event, Huffman's claims as to the Superior Court's ruling are unavailing. Huffman is barred from seeking relief from the sex offender registry until twenty-five years have elapsed since the last day of his Level V sentence was imposed.[4] To the extent Huffman argues that the sex offender registry requirements and conditions violate his constitutional rights, the proper procedural vehicle for a challenge to the legality of a sentence is a motion for correction of illegal sentence. We have already upheld the legality of Huffman's sentence.[5] We have also upheld the constitutionality of the sex offender registry and its community notification requirements. The assignment of a convicted sex offender to a statutorily-mandated Risk Assessment Tier does not implicate a protected liberty interest under the Delaware or United States Constitution.[6] The requirement is not punitive and does not run afoul of ex post facto protection.[7] Nor does the community notification component of the registry violate the offender's constitutional right to privacy.[8] Huffman's contention that the dissemination of his tier registration information violates the Delaware Code is also without merit. Community notification and dissemination of information related to public judicial proceedings are exempt from the definition of "criminal history record information" protected by Title 11 of the Delaware Code[9] and criminal prosecutions are public proceedings by their very nature.[10] Finally, and as we have observed previously in Huffman's case, Huffman had "fair notice" of the sex offender registry requirements when he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse in the second degree and, as part of that plea agreement, agreed to register as a Tier III sex offender.
(7) The remainder of Huffman's claims concern the Superior Court's denial of his motion for credit for time served. The Superior Court considered Huffman's motion as a motion for modification of sentence filed under Rule 35(b). Rule 35(b) provides that a court may reduce a sentence of imprisonment on a motion made within ninety days of sentencing.[11] A court may consider a motion for reduction of sentence made more than ninety days after the imposition of a sentence in "extraordinary circumstances."[12] We review the Superior Court's denial of a motion for modification of sentence under Rule 35(b) for abuse of discretion.[13] This standard is highly deferential.[14]
(8) Huffman argues the Superior Court exhibited bias against him by denying his motion to modify as untimely filed because the Superior Court amended Huffman's sentencing order outside of the time frame of seven days provided for in Rule 35(c).[15] This is an entirely conclusory allegation. "To be disqualified the alleged bias or prejudice of the judge must stem from an extrajudicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned from his participation in the case."[16] There is simply no evidence in the record that the Superior Court harbored any bias or prejudice against Huffman.
(9) Huffman's final two arguments are intertwined and we consider them together. Huffman posits that the Superior Court improperly treated his motion for credit for time served as a motion to modify his sentence. Here, any distinction is one without a difference because Huffman is simply not entitled to credit for time served while he was free on bail.[17] A defendant is entitled to credit for time served for any period of actua ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.