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Harris v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

April 8, 2015

RASHIE HARRIS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee

Submitted: March 4, 2015.

Case Closed April 24, 2015.

Page 1068

Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. Cr. I.D. No. 1102003278.

Patrick J. Collins, Esquire, Collins & Roop, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellant.

Maria T. Knoll, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellee.

Before STRINE, Chief Justice, HOLLAND and VALIHURA, Justices.

OPINION

Page 1069

VALIHURA, Justice:

In this appeal, we are asked to consider the constitutionality of a show-up identification of a suspect brought back to the scene of the crime shortly after the commission of the crime. This case stems from crimes committed by defendant-below Rashie Harris (" Harris" ) at two barbershops -- Runn Way Unisex Barbershop (" Runn Way" ) in Southbridge, and Legends Barbershop (" Legends" ) on Clifford Brown Walk -- on different dates. The cases were consolidated. A grand jury returned a fifty-count indictment, including charges for Attempted Murder, Robbery, Burglary, Unlawful Sexual Contact, Kidnapping, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Possession of a Non-Narcotic Schedule I Controlled Substance, and Resisting Arrest. The first nine counts pertained to the Runn Way incident on January 30, 2011. The remaining counts pertained to the Legends incidents on February 5, 2011. The State entered a nolle prosequis prior to trial on all but one of the Kidnapping charges and their corresponding firearm charges.

After a jury trial, Harris was found guilty of the following offenses: Attempted Murder First Degree, eight counts of Robbery First Degree, two counts of Burglary Second Degree, Unlawful Sexual Contact First Degree, Kidnapping Second Degree, eleven counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Possession of a Non-Narcotic Schedule I Controlled Substance, and Resisting Arrest. The Superior Court also found Harris guilty of two counts of Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited.[1] Harris was sentenced as a habitual offender pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4214(a). Accordingly, Harris was sentenced to Level V incarceration

Page 1070

for the balance of his natural life plus 524 years for his felony charges, and three years and five days for his misdemeanor charges.

Prior to trial, the defense filed a Motion to Sever Charges, a Motion to Suppress the Photo Lineup Identification, and a Motion to Suppress the Show-up Identification. After conducting a hearing and receiving post-hearing submissions, the trial court denied all three motions. After trial but before the verdict, the defense moved for reconsideration of and reargument on the denial of the Motion to Suppress the Show-up Identification. The Superior Court reserved judgment until after the verdict. Following a jury verdict of guilty on all counts, the pending Motion for Reargument was converted into a Motion for a New Trial. After hearing oral arguments, the Superior Court denied the motion.

On appeal, Harris argues that the Superior Court erred in denying his Motion for a New Trial. He contends that the admission into evidence of his show-up identification by witnesses to the incident in question violated his Due Process rights. We disagree, and for the reasons stated herein, we AFFIRM the judgment below.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On January 30, 2011, Harris walked into Runn Way. Harris asked Jonathan Wilson (" Wilson" ),[2] who operated the barbershop, how much a haircut would cost. Before Wilson could respond, Harris pulled out a .38 revolver, and put his hand up to his mouth, indicating that everyone in the barbershop should remain quiet. Harris turned his attention to one of the patrons, and when he did, Wilson punched Harris in the face. Harris fired his revolver three times and hit Wilson in the chest. Harris went through Wilson's pockets and removed $50. He then left the barbershop.

On February 5, 2011, Ricky Cook (" Cook" ) was working at Legends. Deidrick Boyd (" Deidrick" ) and Darrel Boyd (" Darrel" ) were also working at Legends that day. Around noon, Harris entered the barbershop. Cook asked Harris if he wanted a haircut. Harris pointed to Darrel, indicating that he was waiting for Darrel to cut his hair. After about a half hour, Harris got up, covered his face, locked the door, and took out a .38 revolver. Harris told everyone to get down on the floor and keep his or her eyes down. Several customers were in the barbershop at this time, namely, David Lewis (" Lewis" ), Heleema Bland (" Bland" ), Shaun Powell (" Powell" ), and Powell's thirteen-year-old stepson (" K. P." ). Harris directed K. P. to close the blinds, take everyone's wallets, cash, keys, cell phones, and jewelry, and put them in Bland's purse. Harris warned K. P. that if he did not stay in school and get good grades that Harris was going to come back and shoot him. Harris then went around checking to see whether everyone had put his or her belongings into the purse. When Harris reached Bland, he turned her over and groped her breasts to see if she had any money hidden in her bra. Harris told K. P. to take off his clothes and go to the bathroom. Harris then started talking about a barbershop in Southbridge, claiming responsibility for the robbery.[3] Before leaving Legends, Harris said that he would shoot anyone who got up and looked out the window after he left.

Page 1071

Everyone at Legends had been lying on the ground, but a couple seconds after Harris left, everyone got up and looked out the window.[4] Deidrick saw Harris walk northbound on Clifford Brown Walk and turn onto Sherman Street. Diedrick followed Harris and watched him turn left on Lombard Street, and then turn onto 11th Street, heading towards Pine Street. Diedrick hailed a motorist, Jimmie Gordon (" Gordon" ), at 11th and Pine Streets. Gordon called 911 and helped Diedrick track Harris as the Wilmington Police Department responded to the call.

Officers Cain and Verna responded to the 911 call. When Harris saw the police officers, he dropped both of the bags he was carrying and began running. Officer Verna apprehended Harris while Officer Cain stayed with the two bags Harris had dropped. Officer Reiss arrived at the scene as Harris was being taken into custody. Officer Reiss searched Harris and found a plastic bag in Harris' front right pocket that contained five rounds of silver Winchester .38 special ammunition, and found ten clear blue plastic bags in Harris' rear left pocket that contained marijuana.

Officer Reiss took Harris to central booking. Sergeant Stevenson, the police officer in charge, then ordered Officer Reiss to bring Harris back to Legends for a show-up identification.[5] Officer Reiss brought Harris back to Clifford Brown Walk, arriving twenty or thirty minutes after the arrest. Officers Verna and Reiss each stood on either side of Harris as they brought him up to the window of the barbershop. The handcuffs on Harris were not removed. A majority of the witnesses were standing at the window.[6] They nodded their heads up and down, and pointed at Harris when he was brought up to the window of the barbershop.

That same day Harris made a custodial statement to the police. He explained that he committed the robbery at Legends because he owed money to a person named " Willie" who had threatened to kill his mother and sister if Harris did not pay his debt. Harris further explained that he made K. P. take off his clothes because he was trying to scare him so he would stay in school. Harris continued to explain that he felt Bland's breasts because " [a] lot of women keep money in they -- in they breast's area, in the bra." However, Harris denied being involved in the incident at Runn Way in Southbridge. He stated, " I didn't have nothing to do with no Southbridge shooting. This Barber Shop? Clifford Brown? Yes. But this Southbridge? That? No."

On February 10, 2011, police interviewed Wilson at the hospital regarding the incident at Runn Way. Wilson was shown two photographic lineups. He did not identify anyone from the first lineup, but identified Harris from the second lineup as the person who shot and robbed him at Runn Way.

On February 17, 2011, police arrested Harris on charges ...


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