State of Delaware v. West.Annotate this Case
STATE OF DELAWARE
RICHARD F. STOKES
SUSSEX COU NTY C OUR THO USE
1 THE CIRCLE, SUITE 2
GEORGETOWN, DE 19947
TELEPHONE (302) 856-5264
September 6, 2012
N440 STATE MAIL
Kermit R. West
James T. Vaughn Correctional Center
1181 Paddock Road
Smyrna, Delaware 19977
State of Delaware v. Kermit R. West
Case ID: 7307000001
Dear Mr. West:
As you state in your second motion for postconviction relief (“Rule 61"), you have
served 50 years in prison for shooting Lorenzo Byrd Whaley and Mamie Hester Whaley
to death with a 12-gauge shotgun in October 1961. You did not appeal your conviction,
attempt to withdraw your guilty plea or file Rule 35 motions. However, you wrote
numerous letters to this Court and to the Delaware Supreme Court regarding your life
In 1990, a judge of this Court explained to you by letter that the punishment for
first-degree murder at the time you were convicted was life imprisonment. The Court
further stated that your sentences for murder continue until the end of your life and that
you shall remain in prison for that time, barring parole. Those statements are true today.
You filed your first motion for postconviction relief in July 2011, which was
summarily dismissed under the three-year time bar which was in place when Rule 61 was
adopted. The dismissal was affirmed. West v. State, 2012 WL 562820 (Del.). You now
file a second such motion, which is time-barred for the reasons explained on your first
motion. The time bar may not be enlarged unless you show that one of Rule 61's
exceptions applies. Robinson v. State, 584 A.2d 1203, 1204 (Del. 1990). You have not
provided any reason for an enlargement of time.
Even if your motion were timely, it would be dismissed as having been previously
adjudicated. Rule 61(i)(4). That is, the underlying claims are sentencing issues you have
brought in various forms to other judges. You have received more than one judicial
explanation of your life sentences.
You state in conclusory fashion that one or both of your attorneys said you would
receive a sentence of 45 years and that the sentencing judge so stated. The record does
not support these assertions.
The original sentencing order, dated September 14, 1962, imposes imprisonment
on you for the rest of your natural life for each of the two murders. You have not
identified which attorney told you your time would be 45 years. In fact, you argued in
1990 that your sentence should have been 30 years, and the Court responded to the 30year assertion.1 Now that you have served 50 years, you assert your sentence should have
been 45 years. Your motion is untimely and inconsistent with your own prior statements
to the Court. It is at best frivolous.
Finally, justice does not require that an issue that has been phrased one way be
revisited if the claim is refined or restated. Riley v. State, 585 A.2d 719, 721 (Del.1990).
For these reasons, it plainly appears that you are not entitled to relief and your
motion for postconviction relief is SUMMARILY DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Very truly yours,
/s/ Richard F. Stokes
Richard F. Stokes
Original to Prothonotary
Department of Justice
The record shows that in December 1990, you wrote to the Delaware Supreme Court
about your life terms. That Court assigned the letter to the trial court, and an explanatory letter
was issued February 5, 1990. In July 1996 you asked the same questions of President Judge, now
Justice, Henry duPont Ridgely. A judicial response was issued in August 1996.