Submitted: June 20, 2017
William Raisis, Esquire Deputy Attorney General Attorney for
the State of Delaware.
Benjamin S. Gifford IV, Esquire, Law Office of Benjamin S.
Attorney for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
J. SMALLS, CHIEF JUDGE.
defendant, Brittany A. Anderson ("Defendant"), was
charged by Information with Driving Under the Influence
("DUI"), in violation of 21 Del. C. § 4177,
Failure to Remain Within a Single Lane, in violation of 21
Del. C. § 4122(1), and Possession of Marijuana, in
violation of 16 Del. C. § 4764(c) following an arrest on
November 28, 2016, On May 4, 2017, the Court held trial on
this matter. Before trial commenced, Defendant moved to
exclude all evidence provided by the State after the
discovery deadline set in the Court's scheduling order.
After argument, the Court denied Defendant's request to
exclude all untimely provided evidence, but excluded the
evidence related to Defendant's blood draw and blood
chemical analysis. Trial was ultimately continued in order
for the Court to consider a separate defense motion, which
has since been withdrawn.
11, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion for reargument
pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Criminal Rule
57(b) and Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule
59(e). On June 7, 2017, the State filed an untimely
response to the motion. On June 20, 2017, the Court held a
hearing on Defendant's motion, and at the conclusion
thereof, reserved decision. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's motion for reargument is hereby
& PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 28, 2016, Defendant was arrested and charged with
DUI, failure to remain within a single lane, and the civil
violation of possession of marijuana. On January 17, 2017,
Defendant appeared at arraignment, whereupon she entered a
not guilty plea, and this matter was scheduled for a DUI case
review on February 10, 2017. On February 6, 2017, Defendant,
through counsel, served her first request for discovery upon
the State pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Criminal Rule
February 10, 2017, the Court held case review on this matter.
At that date, the parties agreed-and the Court subsequently
ordered-that the State would provide all discovery on or
before March 1, 2017. The Court then scheduled trial for May
4, 2017. On February 14, 2017, Defendant served her second
request for discovery upon the State, along with a blank DVD
in order to obtain a copy of any media captured by the
police. However, between the case review on February 10, 2017
and the discovery deadline of March 1, 2017, the State failed
to provide any discovery to Defendant.
1, 2017-three days before trial-the State provided Defendant
discovery via email, and indicated that the State would
provide a copy of the mobile video recording
("MVR") upon a mutually agreeable appointment. The
next day, the State informed Defendant that a copy of the MVR
was available at the Office of the Attorney General for
pickup, which Defendant retrieved on May 3, 2017.
4, 2017, Defendant appeared for her scheduled trial date.
Before trial commenced, Defendant moved to dismiss the case,
or, in the alternative, to exclude all evidence provided by
the State after the Court's discovery deadline of March
1, 2017. After arguments, the Court denied Defendant's
request to dismiss and exclude all untimely provided
evidence; however, the Court did grant Defendant's motion
to exclude all evidence related to Defendant's blood draw
and the chemical analysis of Defendant's blood.
Ultimately, trial was continued for reasons separate from
11, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion for reargument
of the Court's May 4th decision denying Defendant's
request to exclude all untimely provided evidence. On June 7,
2017, the State filed an untimely response to the motion. On
June 20, 2017, the Court held a hearing on Defendant's
motion, and at the conclusion thereof, reserved decision.
contends the denial of her motion to exclude all untimely
provided evidence results in manifest injustice when
considered alongside recent decisions by this Court.
Defendant contends the State in recent months has routinely
failed to provide defense counsel with discovery in DUI cases
as required by the Court's scheduling order deadlines,
and, instead, provides such materials shortly before trial.
While Defendant concedes discovery violations are evaluated
on a case-by-case basis, Defendant contends the facts of this
matter bear minimal, if any, difference to cases where the
Court found the proper remedy for the State's discovery
violation was the exclusion of all untimely provided
argues the exclusion of evidence in some cases but not
others, with no substantive factual disparity giving rise to
the varying results, is manifestly unjust. Moreover,
Defendant contends the evidence must be excluded in order to
serve as a deterrent to the State for disregarding the
Court's imposed discovery deadlines in the future.
Furthermore, it is the Defendant's position that if the
Court is not willing to enforce its own scheduling orders,
then the DUI case review process serves no legitimate purpose
and, in fact, hinders the efficient administration of
State maintains the Defendant is unable to demonstrate that
there is newly discovered evidence, a change in law, or
manifest injustice sufficient to warrant a reargument of
Defendant's motion to dismiss or exclude all untimely
provided evidence. The State concedes it failed to provide
discovery on or before March 1, 2017; however, it is the
State's position that this failure was merely negligent,
and not willful or wanton. While trial courts have broad
discretion to determine appropriate sanctions for discovery
violations, the State contends the suppression of all
evidence is appropriate only when the State has engaged in
willful or egregious misconduct resulting in substantial
prejudice to the defendant. Based on the individual facts and
circumstances of this case, the State argues the Court acted
within its discretion in shaping an appropriate remedy for
the State's discovery violation, i.e. excluding all
evidence related to Defendant's blood draw and the
chemical analysis of Defendant's blood. As of ...