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Williams v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 19, 2014

MAURICE WILLIAMS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee

Submitted November 27, 2013.

Case Closed March 7, 2014.

Editorial Note:

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

Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. Cr. No. 1011002501.

Before HOLLAND, BERGER, and JACOBS, Justices.

OPINION

Jack B. Jacobs Justice.

ORDER

This 19th day of February 2014, upon consideration of the briefs of the parties and the record in this case, it appears to the Court that:

1. Maurice Williams (" Williams" ) was convicted of Escape After Conviction under 11 Del. C . § 1253 on May 30, 2013 following a two-day jury trial. On June 28, 2013, the trial court declared Williams an habitual offender under 11 Del. C . § 4214(a) and sentenced him to eight years at supervision Level V. Williams appeals from his conviction, claiming that the trial judge improperly precluded Williams from presenting a " justification--choice of evils" defense to the jury. We disagree and affirm.

2. On November 4, 2010, Williams was incarcerated at the Plummer Center in Wilmington, Delaware.[1] That morning, Williams left the Center on a day pass, which authorized him to leave the Plummer Center, but required him to return by 4:45 p.m. that same day. Williams did not return to custody as required, and was apprehended eight days later in Elkton, Maryland.

3. Following a jury trial, Williams was convicted of Escape After Conviction, in violation of 11 Del. C . § 1253, on June 23, 2011. This Court reversed that conviction by Opinion dated December 10, 2012, holding that the trial judge had improperly denied Williams' request to represent himself.[2]

4. A second jury trial on the charge of Escape After Conviction began on May 29, 2013. At that trial, Williams sought to present a " justification--choice of evils" defense under 11 Del. C . § 463.[3] Specifically, Williams claimed that he did not return to custody on November 4, 2010 because he was trying to help his daughter, who was missing and at risk of suicide. During pre-trial proceedings, however, the trial judge determined that Williams could not present that justification--choice of evils defense. The judge stated: " [w]e can do the proffer on the choice of evils defense, but I'll be honest with you, unless the proffer is that you're the one medical person that could have ...


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