Submitted: May 17, 2017
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware ID No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.
28th day of June 2017, upon consideration of the
parties' briefs and the record on appeal, it appears
Appellant, Shawn Daniels, appeals from the Superior
Court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
He makes one claim on appeal. He contends that the Superior
Court abused its discretion in denying his motion because the
court permitted conflicted counsel to represent him when the
motion was presented. For the reasons which follow, we reject
August of 2015, two detectives with the Wilmington Police
Department "received information from a past proven
reliable confidential informant" that Daniels and his
brother were selling heroin out of 812 West 7th
Street in the city of Wilmington. The informant told the
detectives that he/she had purchased heroin on a regular
basis from Daniels and his brother in the past. The informant
also knew that Daniels and his brother possessed firearms.
September of 2015, the detectives used a confidential
informant to purchase illegal drugs from Daniels and his
brother. The detectives also learned that Daniels was
prohibited from possessing a firearm due to several prior
felony convictions. They also learned that Daniels possessed
and drove a teal Mercury Grand Marquis.
detectives applied for and received a search warrant for the
812 West 7th Street residence. When they executed
the warrant, they found U.S. currency, 350 bags of heroin,
marijuana, a digital scale and small baggies associated with
the packaging and sale of drugs, a firearm magazine clip, and
receipts from Wal-Mart for ammunition. The detectives then
obtained a search warrant for the Grand Marquis in which they
found 112 bags of heroin, multiple papers belonging to
Daniels, and a stolen .45 caliber firearm.
Daniels was then arrested and charged with several drug and
firearm offenses. While in custody after his arrest, Daniels
admitted that he used the Grand Marquis on a daily basis and
that the heroin and firearm found in the car belonged to him.
Subsequent to his indictment, Daniels filed a motion to
suppress the drugs and firearm which were the subject of the
prosecution. The Superior Court denied the motion.
final case review, Daniels and the State entered into a plea
agreement in which he agreed to plead guilty to Possession of
a Firearm by a Person Prohibited in violation of 11 Del.
C. § 1448. In the agreement, the State informed
Daniels that it would seek to have him sentenced as an
habitual offender pursuant to 11 Del C. §
4214(a). In the agreement, Daniels acknowledged that he was
eligible for sentencing as an habitual offender. Daniels then
entered his plea of guilty, and during a very thorough plea
colloquy, stated that he recognized and understood that he
was eligible for sentencing as an habitual offender pursuant
to 11 Del. C. § 4214(a).
During the plea colloquy, Daniels also acknowledged that he
was waiving all trial and appellate rights by entering the
plea. The Superior Court judge asked: "Do you understand
because you're pleading guilty you're giving up your
trial rights and your constitutional rights associated with
trial and appeal? I want you to look at those very carefully.
They're numbered 1 through 7. The paper should be in
front of you." Daniels responded, "Yes,
ma'am." The court further clarified by stating
"[y]ou reviewed all those rights and wish to give up
those rights and enter a plea on this charge, rather than go
forward to trial on all the charges in the indictment; is
that correct"? Daniels responded, "Yes,
ma'am." At the close of the plea colloquy, the
court again asked Daniels to look at the plea form "very
carefully" and "to make certain that [he] read
every question carefully, understood each question, and
answered each question truthfully." Daniels again
said, "Yes, ma'am." The plea form referred to
was a truth-in-sentencing guilty plea form signed by Daniels.
It asked, in pertinent part: "Do you understand that
because you are pleading guilty you will not have a trial,
and you therefore waive (give up) your constitutional rights:
... to appeal, if convicted, to the Delaware Supreme
Court?" Daniels answered this question in the
After entry of the plea but before sentencing, Daniels moved
to withdraw his plea pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule
32(d). He alleged that "he did not understand that
entering the guilty plea would waive his appeal rights,
" and he wished to appeal the denial of his motion to
suppress. In the same motion, Daniels' counsel
moved to withdraw as counsel. Counsel stated that he
initially advised Daniels that he could appeal the denial of
the motion to suppress, but when the decision was made to
accept the plea agreement, "[u]ndersigned counsel
believed Daniels understood that he was waiving his right to
appeal when he completed and executed the
the hearing on Daniels' motion to withdraw his guilty
plea and his attorney's motion to ...