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Revel Jr. v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 3, 2014

DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Ill, Attorney General of the State of Delaware, Respondents . [1]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Wayne Olin Revel, Jr. Prose petitioner.

Maria T. Knoll. Deputy Attorney General, Respondents: Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware.

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ROBINSON, United States District Judge.


Petitioner Wayne Olin Revel Jr. (" petitioner) has filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 3) Petitioner is an inmate in custody at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Wilmington, Delaware. For the reasons that follow, the court will dismiss his application.


As summarized by the Delaware Supreme Court in petitioner's direct appeal:

On September 19, 2006, a Wilmington Trust branch in Kent County, Delaware, was robbed of approximately $2,300. On September 22, 2006, a Citizens Bank branch office located in Bear, Delaware was robbed of between $700 and $800. Three days later, a PNC Bank branch in Talleyville, Delaware was nearly robbed. Surveillance footage of each incident revealed the robber to be a white male, wearing slightly oversized clothing, tan boots, and a white baseball cap with a raised white symbol. During each robbery, the robber -- who did not wear gloves -- handed the bank teller a note that read: " Give me all the money and no dye packs."
Detective David Spicer sent a photograph of the robber, taken by surveillance cameras at the Wilmington Trust branch, to various news agencies throughout Delaware. After receiving a telephone call that identified the person in the surveillance photograph as Brock Charles (" Charles" ), Spicer compiled a six-person photo lineup that included a photograph of Charles. Spicer then showed the photo lineup to the bank tellers who witnessed the Wilmington Trust Bank robbery. Two tellers who had not been specifically approached by the robber picked out Charles' photograph. Lori Erhart (" Erhart" ), the teller who was confronted by the robber, also ultimately identified Charles as the offender. The police then obtained an arrest warrant for Charles, who denied

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any participation in the robberies. After Charles' employer and coworkers confirmed that he had been at work during the Wilmington Trust robbery, the State dropped the charges against him.
A similar photo lineup was shown to Abby Manuel (" Manuel" ), a teller present at the Citizens Bank robbery. The man she selected from the photo was William Pruitt (" Pruitt" ). The police soon obtained a warrant for Pruitt's arrest and went to his residence. Pruitt's mother and her boyfriend confirmed that the man in the surveillance photograph appeared to be Pruitt. At Pruitt's home, the police found a pair of Timberland boots, oversized jeans, and a white hat with a raised white emblem. Pruitt was arrested, but the charges against him were also later dropped because he provided a partial alibi that accounted for his whereabouts during one of the bank robberies.
After the public news agency WBOC aired the surveillance photograph on television, Kerry Bittenbender (" Bittenbender" ) contacted the police and informed them that he believed that the man in the picture was [petitioner]. After Dover police Detective David Spicer -- who was investigating the September 19, 2006 Kent County bank robbery at Wilmington Trust -- received the name of [petitioner] as a potential suspect, he contacted Delaware State Police Detective Mark A. Papili, the Detective who was investigating the September 22, 2006, Citizens Bank robbery and the September 25, 2006 PNC attempted robbery. Comparing their information, the two police officers determined that [petitioner] was the common bank robbery suspect in both police agency investigations.
The Delaware State police stopped [petitioner's] 1993 black Isuzu Rodeo motor vehicle on October 8, 2006, in New Castle County. Although [petitioner] was not employed, the police discovered $1, 136 cash in his pants pocket. An October 10, 2006 search of [petitioner's] vehicle pursuant to a search warrant revealed a white on white baseball hat in the rear seat and a pair of tan work boots on the right front passenger floorboard.
At trial, Erhart (the Wilmington Trust teller), Manuel (the Citizens Bank teller), and Nicole Beers (a PNC Bank teller) were unable positively to identify [petitioner] as the robber. During her trial testimony, Manuel maintained that she had correctly identified Pruitt as the person who had robbed the Citizens Bank. Consequently, the State's case focused on the white hat and the substantial amount of cash found on [petitioner's] person. Each of the tellers testified that the hat found in [petitioner's] car looked just like the one worn by the robber.

Revel v. State, 956 A.2d 23, 25-27, (Del. 2008).

In January 2008, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted petitioner of two counts of second degree robbery and one count of attempted second degree robbery. See Revel v. State, 9 A.3d 476 (Table), 2010 WL 4812796, at *1 (Del. Nov. 24, 2010). The Superior Court sentenced petitioner in February 2008 as an habitual offender to a total of fifteen years of incarceration, suspended to probation after serving twelve years. Id. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's convictions on direct appeal. See Revel v. State, 956 A.2d at 30.

In September 2008, petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61 motion" ) alleging, inter alia, the ...

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