JOSEPH M. WALLS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.
October 14, 2019.
Closed December 26, 2019.
decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions
Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.
Below— Superior Court of the State of Delaware. Cr. ID
No. 86001399DI (N).
VALIHURA, VAUGHN, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
L. Valihura, Justice
consideration of the appellant's opening brief, the
appellee's motion to affirm, and the record below, it
appears to the Court that:
The appellant, Joseph M. Walls, filed this appeal from the
Superior Court's denial of his motion requesting
resentencing under 11 Del. C. § 4216(d) and denial of his
request for transfer to the Veterans Administration hospital
for treatment of certain mental health conditions. The State
has moved to affirm the judgment below on the ground that it
is manifest on the face of Walls's opening brief that his
appeal is without merit. We agree and affirm.
November 17, 1987, a Superior Court jury found Walls guilty
of various offenses arising from a home invasion. On March
18, 1988, the Superior Court sentenced Walls and entered an
order of judgment. Walls appealed. This Court affirmed the
Superior Court's judgment on February 8, 1990 and issued
a mandate on March 1, 1990.
November 2018, Walls filed a " Motion for TIS
Resentencing," in which he argued that he is entitled to
resentencing under 11 Del. C. § 4216(d). In March 2019, Walls
sent the Superior Court a letter requesting that he be
transferred to the Veterans Administration hospital for
treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic
brain injury that resulted from his military service. On
April 11, 2019, the Superior Court denied Walls's
requests for relief. This appeal followed.
Walls's first argument on appeal is that he is entitled
to resentencing under the Truth in Sentencing Act of 1989
(the " TIS Act" ) because his conviction was not
" final" until this Court issued the mandate in his
direct appeal on March 1, 1990. " The General Assembly
passed the Truth in Sentencing Act on July 17, 1989, to
provide more certainty about the length of sentences to be
served by criminal defendants."  The TIS Act repealed
certain provisions of Titles 11 and 16 of the Delaware Code,
but provided that the repealed provisions " shall remain
in force and effect for the purpose of trial and sentencing
for all crimes which occur prior to 12:01 a.m., June 30,
1990."  The TIS Act, as amended in 1990, also
provided that " [a]ny individual convicted of a crime on
or after January 1, 1990, which crime occurred prior to June
30, 1990, may elect to be sentenced under the provisions of
the Truth in Sentencing Act of 1989 rather than under the
prior provisions of this title."  Walls bases his
claim that he is entitled to resentencing on this provision,
which was codified as 11 Del. C. § 4216(d).
Walls contends that he was entitled to elect sentencing under
the TIS Act because his conviction did not become final until
March 1, 1990, when this Court entered its mandate in his
direct appeal. We conclude that the Superior Court did not
err in determining that Walls is not entitled to
resentencing. Walls was " convicted" within the
meaning of Section 4216(d) when the jury found him guilty on
November 17, 1987. Walls's attempt to import the
" finality" concept from Superior Court
Criminal Rule 61 into Section 4216(d) is unavailing.
Neither the word " final" nor the finality concept
appears in Section 4216(d). Indeed, the fact that Rule 61
defines when a conviction becomes final indicates that the
words " conviction" or " convicted,"
standing alone, do not encompass the concept of
finality. Moreover, Walls's reliance on
federal case law applying federal statutes or addressing
nonstatutory principles of retroactivity is misplaced.
Walls's second argument on appeal is that 16 Del. C. §
5021 entitles him to be transferred to the Veterans
Administration hospital for treatment for posttraumatic
stress disorder and traumatic brain injury that resulted from
his military service. Section 5021 appears in a chapter of
the Delaware ...