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Powell v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 19, 2019

LEON POWELL, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: June 18, 2019 [1]

          Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware, Cr. ID No. 82007195DI (N)

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

          ORDER

          LEO E. STRINE, JR. CHIEF JUSTICE

         Upon consideration of the appellant's opening brief, the appellee's motion to affirm, and the record below, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) The appellant, Leon Powell, filed this appeal from the Superior Court's April 4, 2019 order denying his motion to compel the production of his sentencing order so he could complete his application for commutation of his sentence. The State of Delaware has moved to affirm the Superior Court's judgment on the ground that it is manifest on the face of Powell's opening brief that the appeal is without merit. We disagree and reverse the Superior Court's judgment.

         (2) The record reflects that, in 1983, Powell was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. This Court affirmed Powell's conviction and sentence on direct appeal.[2]

         (3) On March 26, 2019, Powell filed a motion to compel the production of his complete sentencing order so that he could complete his application for commutation. Powell stated that he and his family members had requested the order multiple times, but had not received it. The Superior Court provided Powell with the Superior Court criminal docket for his case, which included the life sentence in docket entry 24, and denied his motion as moot. This appeal followed.

         (4) On appeal, Powell argues that he needs his complete sentencing order, not just his criminal docket, to comply with the Board of Pardons' requirements. The State has moved to affirm, arguing that the criminal docket satisfies the Board of Pardons' requirements. The Board of Pardons Checklist provided by the State contradicts the State's position.

         (5) The Board of Pardons Checklist provides:

YOU MUST COMPLETE STEPS 1 AND 2 BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE APPLICATON PROCESS….
STEP 2
Request Certified Court Dockets and Sentencing Orders and/or Disposition Records for all ADULT dispositions listed as guilty, unknown, unobtainable, transferred or pending and any JUVENILE dispositions where you were sentenced as guilty as an adult in Superior Court. Additionally, you must submit certified copies of financial information on outstanding fines, costs, fees and restitution. Contact the courts in ...

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