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Copper v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 12, 2014

Darryl COPPER, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

Submitted: Jan. 29, 2014.

Page 690

Court Below— Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County, Cr. ID No. 1108009992.

Upon appeal from the Superior Court. AFFIRMED.

Gregory M. Johnson, Esquire, Wilmington, Delaware, for appellant.

Kathryn J. Garrison, Esquire, Department of Justice, Georgetown, Delaware, for appellee.

Before HOLLAND, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.

HOLLAND, Justice.

The defendant-appellant, Darryl Copper (" Copper" ), appeals from final judgments entered by the Superior Court following a jury trial, in which he was found guilty of Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Copper raises one claim on appeal. Copper contends that he was denied his right to a fair trial by an impartial jury because the jurors heard him say that he was not content with the jury and because one juror heard him say that he wanted to take a plea. According to Copper, the only effective remedy was a mistrial.

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

Facts

The following facts are described in the State's Answering Brief and are not disputed: [1]

[Darryl] Copper's [ (" Copper" ) ] criminal charges stem from an incident in which Wilmington police officers witnessed him discard a gun and baggies of crack cocaine as he walked down the street. The officers were patrolling the area in their vehicle. Copper caught their attention as they drove by because he began taking items from his pockets and dropping them onto the ground. One of the items appeared to be a knotted plastic bag containing crack cocaine. As they followed him, Copper also took a gun out of his waistband and tossed it into a flower pot. The officers arrested Copper. In a search incident to arrest, they found approximately five grams of

Page 691

crack cocaine and twenty-eight rounds of ammunition in his pockets. They found an additional four grams of crack cocaine in a plastic bag near the flower pot containing the gun. The officers also located the bag Copper first discarded. It contained one gram of crack cocaine.
The State charged Copper with several drug-related offenses.[2]

Trial began on August 14, 2012. Jury selection began the same day, during which the events giving rise to this appeal largely occurred. At the conclusion of voir dire, the court summoned twelve jurors to the jury box and gave the parties the opportunity to exercise peremptory strikes. Defense counsel advised the court that she was content with the jury. Copper disagreed, however, and stated, " No we're not content. We're not content. I'm not content. I don't like that jury." This comment was made in front of the jury panel.

The court then held a sidebar conference, during which defense counsel moved to strike the entire jury pool because of her concern that Copper's comments may have prejudiced the jury. The court denied the motion and reiterated that it is up to the lawyer's professional ...


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