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Holder v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

October 25, 2013

Elwood Ross HOLDER, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

Submitted: Sept. 11, 2013.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.

Court Below: Family Court of the State of Delaware, in and for Sussex County, Cr. I.D. No. 1205012466.

Before STEELE, Chief Justice, HOLLAND, BERGER, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices, constituting the Court en Banc.

ORDER

CAROLYN BERGER, Justice.

This 25th day of October, on consideration of the briefs and arguments of the parties, it appears to the Court that:

1) Elwood Ross Holder appeals from his adjudication of delinquency for the attempted fourth degree rape of another juvenile. Holder argues that his adjudication should be reversed because the State withheld exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland. [1]

2) The victim testified that she was five or six years old when she saw Holder, who was then 11 or 12, and his younger brother on the street. The victim lived two houses away from the Holders. She followed Holder into his house, and into Holder's room. He told her to take off her clothes, and she complied. Holder's pants were part way down, and the victim saw his penis. Holder lay down on his bed and told the victim to get on top of him. She did, and Holder's penis touched her vagina. She said it hurt. The two children stopped and put their clothes on when they heard Holder's sister coming down the hall.

3) The victim also testified that Holder's brother took her and Holder's younger step-sister into the bathroom. He told them to disrobe and to lie down on the bathroom floor. He then attempted to penetrate both girls from behind. The victim said that she saw Holder do the same thing to the step-sister.

4) In February 2012, about five years after these incidents, the victim reported what happened to her mother. The victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), and a tape of that interview was played at trial. The CAC also interviewed the step-sister, who had no memory of being abused or witnessing the victim's abuse. At the time of the incident, the step-sister was two or three years old.

5) The State provided Holder the step-sister's CAC videotape, as well as the police report summarizing the step-sister's statement. But the State redacted the step-sister's address, and the State did not produce the step-sister as a witness at trial. Holder complains that he was unable to call the step-sister as a witness because he did not have her address. Holder says that the step-sister's statement is inconsistent with the victim's testimony and would have been important to impeach the victim's credibility. According to Holder, the State's failure to provide her address constitutes a Brady violation that deprived him of a fair trial.

6) Under Brady v. Maryland,[2] the State is required to disclose exculpatory evidence as a matter of due process. " There are three components of a Brady violation: (1) evidence exists that is favorable to the accused, because it is either exculpatory or impeaching; (2) that evidence is ...


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