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Mitchell v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 21, 2014

HAREEM D. MITCHELL, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee

Submitted February 14, 2013

Case Closed April 8, 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 Kent County. Cr. ID 1203014788A.

Before BERGER, JACOBS, and RIDGELY, Justices.

OPINION

Jack B. Jacobs, Justice

ORDER

This 21st day of March 2014, upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the record below, it appears to the Court that:

(1) The defendant-below/appellant, Hareem D. Mitchell, appeals from his criminal convictions in the Superior Court of Kent County. Mitchell's appeal rests on several alleged violations during the investigation, pre-trial, and trial phases of his case. We find no merit to Mitchell's appeal. Accordingly, we affirm.

(2) The record shows that a grand jury indicted Mitchell on one count of Attempted First Degree Murder, two counts of First Degree Robbery, three counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, four counts of First Degree Reckless Endangering, one count of Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony, one count of Resisting Arrest, one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, and one count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited. Initially, a public defender represented Mitchell. On October 26, 2012, the trial judge granted defense counsel's motion to withdraw, and Mitchell proceeded to trial pro se .[1] After a six-day trial, a jury found Mitchell guilty of the ten charges that the State presented.[2] The trial judge sentenced Mitchell to 89 years of imprisonment.

(3) The crimes in this case occurred on March 17, 2012. A masked man with a firearm entered Dot Discount in Dover. The man approached a customer, Robert Williams, from behind, placed a hand around Williams' neck, and thrust the firearm into his back. The man then approached the store clerk, Keandra Thompson, and demanded money. Thompson complied and placed the store's money into a black plastic bag. The man then ordered Thompson to lie face down on the ground, and left with the proceeds of his robbery. Once the man left, Thompson reported this incident to the police. Williams also reported this incident to the police.

(4) Corporal Michael Wisniewski of the Dover Police Department responded to the police radio dispatch regarding the Dot Discount robbery. The dispatch informed that the robber " was fleeing on foot northbound . . . wearing all black clothing," and was possibly armed. Wisniewski headed toward Dot Discount in an unmarked black Ford Crown Victoria. He spotted a person in flight matching the description of the robber on South Governor's Avenue. The suspect, upon seeing Wisniewski, dove into a nearby bush. Wisniewski ordered the suspect to crawl slowly from the bush, but the suspect did not comply.

(5) With his firearm drawn, Wisniewski approached the suspect. Wisniewski testified that the suspect then fired four shots in his direction. Wisniewski fired five shots at the suspect in response. Wisniewski then realized that his gun malfunctioned, and he retreated for cover to correct the malfunction.

(6) The suspect ultimately threw down the bag of money and his firearm. Officers approached the suspect and instructed him to place his hands behind his back. The suspect refused to place his hands behind him. The suspect continued to resist while the officers arrested him. Wisniewski identified Hareem D. Mitchell as the man officers arrested.

(7) Near the place of Mitchell's arrest, police recovered a .38 revolver with four spent shells inside the cylinder, $730 in loose bills, $1,300.50 and two checks in a black plastic bag, and a bandana. Police also recovered a black cap and an additional $120 in Mitchell's sweatshirt. Finally, police recovered the five spent .40 caliber shells from Wisniewski's gun.

(8) In May 2012, the prosecutor sought to indict Mitchell on fourteen counts related to the March 17 events. The grand jury indicted Mitchell on all fourteen counts. Count 1 alleged that Mitchell attempted First Degree Murder " by ...


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