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State v. Woodlin

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

July 18, 2017


         RK07-10-0445-01 through RK07-10-0453-01

         Upon Defendant's Amended Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Susan G. Schmidhauser, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          Patrick J. Collins, Esquire, Collins and Associates, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant.


          Andrea M Freud Commissioner.

         The defendant, Howard E. Woodlin ("Woodlin") was found guilty, following a jury trial on November 17, 2008, as charged, of one count Rape in the First Degree Without Consent, 11 Del. C. § 773; one count of Dangerous Crime Against a Child, 11 Del. C. § 779; three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 11 Del. C. § 1102; one count of Unlawful Sexual Contact First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 769; one count of Incest, 11 Del. C. § 766; and two counts of Indecent Exposure First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 765. A presentence investigation was ordered by the Court. On January 27, 2009, Woodlin was sentenced to life in prison on the Rape in the First Degree and to an additional thirty-three years and ten months incarceration, suspended after twenty-five years and ten months for probation, twenty-five of which were minimum mandatory time.

         Woodlin, through counsel, appealed his conviction to the Delaware Supreme Court. The issue raised on appeal was noted by the Court as follows:

He argues that it was an abuse of discretion by the trial judge to permit the admission into evidence of his minor daughter's interview with a Children's Advocacy Center ("CAC") forensic interviewer, Diane Klecan ("Klecan") under title 11, section 3507 of the Delaware code. According to Woodlin, no foundation was laid regarding the perceived events or truthfulness of the out-of-court statement.[1]

         The Supreme Court, on July 22, 2010, affirmed Woodlin's conviction and sentence.[2]

         On May 6, 2011, Woodlin filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief in which he raised two grounds for relief including ineffective assistance of counsel. After briefing on the motion was complete, Woodlin on November 11, 2011, filed a motion to amend his Rule 61 motion. The motion to amend was denied by this court[3] and Woodlin appealed that ruling to the State Supreme Court. Consequently the matter was stayed in this court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on July 12, 2012 and the mandate issued on August 1, 2012.[4]

         Briefing on Woodlin's motion continued and I issued a Report on May 3, 2013 recommending that the Court deny Woodlin's motion. He next filed a motion for appointment of counsel and did not appeal my ruling. The Court granted Woodlin's motion for appointment of counsel. Next Appointed Counsel filed an Amended Motion for Postconviction Relief and waived all the grounds raised earlier in Woodlin's pro se motion. The pending amended motion alleges ineffective assistance of Trial Counsel.


         Following are the facts as set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court:

Woodlin and Tammy Campbell ('Campbell') are the parents of two children: Sarah, born in 2000, and Matthew, born in 2005. FN3 While Sarah was living temporarily with Campbell's aunt, Barbara, Sarah disclosed to Barbara that she had been sexually assaulted by her father and that she had witnessed incidents of sexual contact between her parents.
Barbara took Sarah to the CAC in Kent County on September 24, 2007, and a recorded interview of then seven-year-old Sarah was conducted. Two days after the CAC interview, Campbell and Woodlin were arrested by the Delaware State Police. Campbell pled guilty to a charge of Rape in the Second Degree involving her daughter. Campbell was sentenced to twenty-five years of incarceration at Level V, suspended after serving ten years, for probation supervision.
At Woodlin's trial, Campbell testified that her daughter observed Woodlin licking her breasts on three occasions, and that Sarah saw Campbell touching Woodlin's penis three occasions.
Campbell also testified that her daughter told her that Woodlin had touched the child 'in her vagina area.' While being interviewed by a Delaware State Police Detective, Woodlin stated that 'whatever Campbell said is what happened.'
Sarah testified at her father's 2008 trial. She acknowledged speaking with Klecan, the CAC forensic interviewer, about her father' [b]ecause he did something wrong to me.' Sarah did not want to describe what her father did '[b]ecause it's nasty.' After Sarah's direct trial testimony was completed, the videotaped CAC interview was admitted into evidence and played for the jury. There was no cross-examination.[5]
FN3 The Court has assigned pseudonyms to the children pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 7(d).

         Following are the facts from the Preliminary Hearing: During the video Ashley told Klecan that her Daddy's pee pee touched the in-part of her hookie, not just her out-part. Testimony elicited from the investigative officer during the preliminary hearing indicated that the nurse who conducted the S.A.N.E. [Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner] examination concluded that there may have been sexual penetration of the victim's vagina and anus.[6]

         WOODLIN'S ...

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