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State v. Bowen

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

January 8, 2015

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
DALE J. BOWEN, Defendant.

Submitted: December 10, 2014

Kevin Hudson, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

Brian J. Chapman, Esquire, Attorney for Defendant Dale J. Bowen.

COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE DENIED.

Lynne M. Parker Commissioner

This 8th day of January, 2015, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

1. On October 13, 2005, a Superior Court jury found Defendant Dale Bowen guilty of Carjacking First Degree, Robbery First Degree, two counts of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited.

2. On December 5, 2005, Defendant Bowen was sentenced as a habitual offender, pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4214(a), to a total of 56 years at Level V, suspended after 54 years, for 2 years probation.

3. Defendant filed a direct appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. On July 24, 2006, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court.[1]

4. The facts giving rise to the subject charges, as mainly set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court in its opinion on Defendant's direct appeal, are as follows: On October 14, 2005, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Bowen robbed Lauriece Aguirre while she was withdrawing money from an enclosed ATM at the College Square Shopping Center in Newark.[2] As the ATM dispensed the cash, Bowen grabbed Aguirre from behind with one arm and held a knife to her throat with the other. He demanded the cash and Aguirre's car keys. Bowen fled the scene in Aguirre's car. The police recovered the car approximately half an hour later and identified Bowen as a suspect shortly thereafter.[3]

5. In an audiotaped statement and at trial, Bowen admitted robbing Aguirre. Bowen denied that he used a knife when he robbed Aguirre, claiming instead that he used a sharpened metal object rather than a knife. Bowen also denied the carjacking due to the proximity of the car to Aguirre. Aguirre, however, clearly testified that she saw a kitchen-style knife with a serrated blade.[4]

6. The surveillance video of the ATM was obtained. Defendant admitted that he was the perpetrator on the surveillance video.[5] Defendant gave a recorded confession to the police that he had committed the robbery at issue.[6]

7. Because Bowen refused to stipulate that he had a prior felony conviction, the State proffered a certified court record of his prior conviction to establish his prohibited status. The court admitted the certified court record. At trial, the State only referenced the crime from the conviction, Robbery in the Second Degree, and the date of the conviction.[7] Bowen neither objected nor requested a relevant limiting instruction.

8. On direct appeal, Defendant claimed that the trial judge should have sua sponte issued a limiting instruction that the jury should only consider his 2002 conviction for Robbery Second Degree to establish that he was prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon and that the jury could not use evidence of his prior robbery conviction to ...


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