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State v. Kelsch

Court of Common Pleas of Delaware, New Castle

August 15, 2013

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
EDWARD KELSCH AND SANDRA KELSCH, Defendants.

Submitted: June 24, 2013

Michael B. Degliobizzi, Esquire Deputy Attorney General Attorney for the State of Delaware.

Bayard J. Snyder, Esquire Attorney for Defendant Sandra Kelsch.

Michael W. Modica, Esquire Attorney for Defendant Edward Kelsh.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL

Honorable Alex J. Smalls, Chief Judge

At the close of the State's case on May 17, 2013, Defendants Sandra and Edward Kelsch moved for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Criminal Rule 29. The State opposed the motion and the Court reserved decision. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the motion.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE

A. Background

On August 15, 2012, Sandta and Edward Kelsch were attested and charged with misdemeanor offenses concerning their care and treatment of animals. Sandra Kelsch was charged with: 19 counts of Animal Cruelty or Neglect to Animals pursuant to 11 Del C. § 1325(b)(2); 19 counts of Dogs Without License in violation of Section 402(b)(1) of the New Castle County Code; and 19 counts of Rabies Inoculation for Dogs pursuant to 3 Del C § 8204. Edward Kelsch was charged with 19 counts of Animal Cruelty or Neglect, pursuant to 11 Del C § 1325(b)(2).

On Friday, May 17, 2013, a trial was held in Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County. At the conclusion of the State's case-in-chief, Defendants moved for judgment of acquittal on the grounds that the State failed to prove a necessary element of their case: that the offenses occurred in the State of Delaware. Therefore, they argue, the Court lacks jurisdiction. The Court reserved-decision on the motion and ordered briefing on the-matter. The following are the relevant facts pertaining to the issue of jurisdiction.

B. Facts Established at Trial

Defendants Edward and Sandra Kelsch resided at 800 Chambers Rock Road. The property is situated along the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania. The investigating officers testified as to the events and investigation that preceded Defendants' arrests.

On July 12, 2012, Sgt. Eric Barnes of the Kent County SPCA arrived at 770 Chambers Rock Road to investigate a complaint of dogs running loose. Previously in his investigation of this complaint, Barnes had contacted Linda Wilson, sister of Defendant Sandra Kelsch. Linda Wilson's drivers License listed her address as 770 Chambers Rock Road. Upon arriving at that location, Barnes drove up the driveway until it became necessary to continue on foot because of the terrain. When Barnes exited his vehicle, he heard multiple dogs barking on an adjacent property. Barnes then backed out of the driveway and drove to the adjacent property, 800 Chambers Rock Road. After pulling into the driveway at 800 Chambers Rock Road, Barnes encountered Defendant Sandra Kelsch. Barnes identified himself and stated that he was looking for the owner of 770 Chambers Rock Road. Sandra Kelsch responded that her sister owned the property at 770. When Sandra Kelsch told Barnes that the property was in Pennsylvania, he left the property.

On August 2, 2012, Barnes returned to the properties at 770 and 800 Chambers Rock Road, along with Sgt. Hollet of the Delaware County Animal Control and officers of the Chester County SPCA. They advised Sandra Kelsch that they were there to check the dogs. At 770 Chambers Rock Road, more than 15 dogs were found. When Barnes asked if he could see the dogs that were inside the residence at 800 Chambers Rock Road, Sandra Kelsch responded that the dogs ...


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