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Ashley v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 11, 2014

Iziah ASHLEY, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

Submitted: Feb. 5, 2014.

Page 82

Court Below— Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County, Cr. I.D. 1203020401.

Upon appeal fro the Superior Court. AFFIRMED.

Page 83

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

Elizabeth R. McFarlan, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, for appellee.

Before HOLLAND, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.

HOLLAND, Justice:

The defendant-appellant, Iziah Ashley (" Ashley" ), appeals from final judgments of the Superior Court, following a jury trial, and convictions of two counts of Rape in the Second Degree, three counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact with a Child Under the Age of 13, Bribing a Witness, Interfering with a Child Witness, and Conspiracy in the Second Degree.

Ashley raises three claims in this direct appeal. Ashley contends: first, that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied severance of several claims because a single trial did not serve the judicial economy and caused substantial prejudice to Ashley; second, that the trial court abused its discretion and violated Ashley's right to a fair trial when it refused to grant a mistrial or issue a curative instruction when the State elicited highly prejudicial testimony from the victim's mother; and, third, that the cumulative impact of all of the errors amounts to plain error.

We have concluded that Ashley's claims are without merit. Therefore, the judgments of the Superior Court must be affirmed.

Facts

In June 2011, the complainant in this case, eleven-year old SB,[1] was living with her grandparents in a house in Wilmington. Also living in the house were SB's little sister, SB's Aunt, Briana Maddox, Maddox's nineteen-year old boyfriend, Iziah Ashley, and their infant daughter. At the time, SB's mother, Renada, was living in Claymont with her two sons and their father.

In September 2011, Renada had a conversation with SB regarding her relationship with Ashley. SB told her mother that Ashley had taken advantage of her sexually multiple times. In March 2012, Detective Cecilia Ashe of the Wilmington Police separately interviewed SB and Ashley. In SB's interview, she stated that Ashley made her give him oral sex four times, and that he had digitally penetrated her and touched her breasts. In his interview, Ashley admitted that he had groped SB's chest and that he had inserted his penis in SB's mouth twice.

Ashley was arrested in March 2012 and later indicted by a grand jury on four counts of Rape in the Second Degree, one count of Rape in the Fourth Degree, four counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact in the First Degree, and one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. Trial was set to take place in January 2013. Before trial, Maddox along with Ashley's aunt, Robin Johnson, made contact with Renada and offered her $100 to not bring SB to trial. The two women presented to Renada a letter stating that she was ...


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