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Mays v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

September 19, 2013

James MAYS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

Submitted: Sept. 4, 2013.

Court Below— Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County, Cr. A. No. 1205011159.

Upon appeal from the Superior Court. AFFIRMED.

Santino Ceccotti, Esquire, Office of the Public Defender, Wilmington, DE, for appellant.

Andrew J. Vella, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, DE, for appellee.

Before HOLLAND, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.

HOLLAND, Justice.

The defendant-appellant, James Mays (" Mays" ), was convicted, following a Superior Court jury trial, of one count of felony Promoting Prison Contraband. Prior to closing arguments, Mays requested the trial judge to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of misdemeanor Promoting Prison Contraband. That request was denied. The jury found Mays guilty of the single felony charge alleged in the indictment.

In this direct appeal, Mays has raised one claim of error. According to Mays, although he was charged with and convicted of felony Promoting Prison Contraband, the record reflects that there was a rational basis for the jury to find him guilty of the lesser-included offense of misdemeanor Promoting Prison Contraband. Mays' submits that the trial judge's failure to give that lesser-included instruction was reversible error.

We have concluded that Mays' argument is without merit. Therefore, the judgment of the Superior Court must be affirmed.

Facts

On May 10, 2012, Correction Officer Luis Gomez (" Officer Gomez" ) was working in his capacity as a " shake-down" officer at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (" JTVCC" ) located in Smyrna, Delaware. As a " shake-down" officer, Officer Gomez and other members of the " shake-down" team were responsible for searching for contraband in various areas of the correctional

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facility, including prison cells and the inmates' persons. James Mays was an inmate being housed at JTVCC. On May 10, 2012, members of the " shake-down" team went to Mays' cell for the purpose of searching for contraband. Mays was not present in his cell at that time.

Officer Gomez learned that Mays was in the prison infirmary. Officer Gomez and Correction Officer Stephen Howard went to the infirmary and found Mays in the waiting area. Officer Gomez then directed Mays into a bathroom/shower area of the infirmary where Officer Gomez and Officer Howard conducted a strip search of Mays. During the course of the strip search Mays removed an object from his underwear and handed it over to Officer Gomez. The object was a sock which ...


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