Submitted April 29, 2015.
Case Closed July 8, 2015
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. No. 1205001919.
Before STRINE, Chief Justice, VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.
James T. Vaughn, Jr., Justice.
On this 26th day of May 2015, it appears to the Court that:
(1) Defendant-below/Appellant Corey Lewis appeals from a Superior Court order finding him in violation of probation. Lewis raises three claims on appeal. First, Lewis claims that his due process right to present a defense was violated when the trial court ruled certain evidence inadmissible at his violation of probation (" VOP" ) hearing. Second, Lewis claims that several continuances of his VOP hearing violated his due process right to a prompt hearing. Third, Lewis claims that the trial court's ruling excluding the aforementioned evidence was an abuse of discretion. We find no merit to these claims and affirm.
(2) On March 1, 2013, Wilmington Police Officer Robert Fox, Sergeant Ronald Muniz, and Corporal Aaron Metzner were working as members of the Wilmington Police Department's Firearms Task Force. That day, Officer Fox was contacted by a confidential informant (" CI" ) who told him that two individuals were displaying firearms in the Southbridge community and that there was going to be an altercation. The CI also stated that one suspect, later identified as Lewis, was wearing a black Nike hooded sweat shirt and blue jeans with black and red sneakers. The officers proceeded toward Southbridge in an unmarked police vehicle.
(3) Upon arriving in Southbridge, the officers observed a small group of people that included Lewis. After noticing the unmarked police car, Lewis clutched his waistband and began walking west on B Street toward Townsend Street. Officer Fox and Sergeant Muniz then observed Lewis toss a black, L-shaped object on the ground. Because the officers believed the object to be a weapon, they arrested Lewis. The object was later determined to be a black 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine.
(4) Lewis, a convicted felon, was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited (" PFBPP" ) and Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon (" CCDW" ). On March 15, 2013, Lewis was charged with violating his probation, which stemmed from a 2012 conviction for Second Degree Robbery and Second Degree Carjacking, by, inter alia, possessing a firearm. The State subsequently entered a nolle prosequi on the firearm charges because the United States Department of Justice chose to pursue charges under a federal statute. The State, however, continued to pursue the VOP.
(5) Lewis's first scheduled VOP hearing on March 27, 2013, was continued because he was in federal custody pending trial in the district court. Lewis then requested that the rescheduled VOP hearing be continued pending disposition of the federal trial. The Superior Court granted this request and rescheduled the VOP hearing for June 19, 2013. Lewis was subsequently acquitted on the federal charges, and transferred back into State custody on March 7, 2014. The VOP hearing was continued several more times to ensure Lewis had counsel and to address a motion to dismiss for lack of a prompt hearing filed by Lewis, which was subsequently denied by the trial court.
(6) In April 2014, Lewis was released on bail pending his VOP hearing. On June 5, 2014, Lewis was arrested on an administrative warrant and charged with violating the terms of his probation by repeatedly violating his curfew. The Superior Court held a contested VOP hearing on June 25, 2014. During the VOP hearing, Lewis admitted the VOP ...