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Norman v. State ex rel. Bove

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 1, 1962

Robert Ward NORMAN, Defendant, Petitioner,
v.
The STATE of Delaware ex rel. Januar D. Bove, Jr., Attorney General; The Honorable James B. Carey, Associate Judge of the Superior Court, Respondents.

Page 348

C. W. Berl, Jr., of Berl, Potter & Anderson, Wilmington, for petitioner.

E. Norman Veasey, Deputy Atty. Gen., for the State.

SOUTHERLAND, C. J., and WOLCOTT and BRAMHALL, JJ., sitting.

SOUTHERLAND, Chief Justice.

The primary question presented by this case is whether the writ of mandamus may be used to review an order of the Superior Court refusing to quash an indictment.

The facts are these:

Petitioner Norman was arrested in California in December, 1955, for a federal crime. He was tried and convicted, and was committed to the United States Penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is still in custody, and will probably not be released until 1966, if then.

In March 1956 he was indicted by the Grand Jury of New Castle County on four charges, involving robbery, attempted robbery, and kidnapping. Detainers were lodged against Norman by the State to hold him for extradition to Delaware upon his release from Leavenworth.

On November 23, 1956, the petitioner wrote the Attorney General, stating his intention to file a motion for a speedy trial or, alternatively, a dismissal of the charges, and requesting to be informed of the earliest date on which he could defend[54 Del. 397] himself in court. After correspondence with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Attorney General's office on June 11, 1957, advised that Bureau that the State would not at that time lift the detainers or take any action in the matter.

In March of 1958 the United States Attorney General advised the Warden at Leavenworth to the effect that the federal government would make Norman available for trial in Delaware whenever the state authorities desired.

In May, 1958, Norman filed in the Superior Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum.

In February, 1959, Norman wrote to the Superior Court and asked for aid. The court appointed his present counsel.

In August, 1959, counsel withdrew the petition for the writ of habeas corpus and filed in September, 1959, a motion to quash all the indictments on the ground that petitioner had been denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial. After briefing and argument the Superior Court denied the motion, nad a final order to that effect was entered October 5, 1960. Thereafter, in response to an inquiry from Norman's counsel, the Attorney General advised him that the State would be ready to try the defendant on the pending charges but for the conditions imposed by The Department of Justice respecting Norman's return to Delaware. (These conditions required the State to pay the expenses of Norman and the federal officers to and from Delaware and required that Norman remain at all times in the custody of the federal officers.)

Page 349

On February 20, 1961, petitioner renewed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, and that petition is still pending and undecided.

On March 2, 1961, the present petition for mandamus was filed. In addition to answering on the ...


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