Submitted: March 20, 2018
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; SEITZ and TRAYNOR, Justices.
F. Traynor Justice
30th day of April 2018, upon consideration of the
appellant's Supreme Court Rule 26(c) brief, the
State's response, and the record below, it appears to the
June 2017, a Superior Court jury found the appellant, Darrell
Law, guilty of Aggravated Possession (Tier 5), Drug Dealing
(Tier 4), Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and Possession of
Drug Paraphernalia. The Drug Dealing conviction was merged
with the Aggravated Possession conviction for sentencing. The
Superior Court sentenced Law as follows: (i) for Aggravated
Possession (Tier 5), twenty-five years of Level V
incarceration, suspended after five years for decreasing
levels of supervision; (ii) for Conspiracy in the Second
Degree, two years of Level V incarceration, suspended for one
year of Level II probation; and (iii) Possession of Drug
Paraphernalia, a suspended $500.00 fine. This is Law's
State's witnesses at trial included three Delaware State
Police officers and a forensic analyst chemist from the
Department of Forensic Sciences. Officer Thomas Macauley
testified that he was patrolling Route 13 in Harrington on
November 6, 2016. After he saw a car going southbound at a
high rate of speed, Officer Macauley directed the driver of
the car to pull over. Another police officer, Officer Brian
Holl, was following Officer Macauley in another car and
pulled over as well.
When Officer Macauley spoke to the driver, Kurt McIntosh,
regarding the reason for the stop, he thought McIntosh seemed
extremely nervous. Officer Macauley also noticed the odor of
marijuana in the car. Law was in the front passenger seat of
the car. The police officers took Law and McIntosh into custody.
Based on the marijuana odor, the police conducted a search of
the car interior. Officer Holl found 1, 622 bags containing
14.488 grams of heroin under the front passenger seat and
marijuana on the floor.
Detective Jason Vernon testified that the heroin was for
resale based on the amount and packaging. Detective Vernon
interviewed Law, who stated that he was delivering the heroin
to a drug dealer in Rehoboth. Because the video recording
system was not working, the only record of the interview was
Detective Vernon's handwritten notes. A forensic
analytical chemist testified that testing of a random
sampling of the substance found in the car confirmed that it
McIntosh and Law testified for the defense. McIntosh, who had
pleaded guilty to Drug Dealing, testified that the heroin
belonged to him and that Law knew nothing about the heroin.
Law testified that he knew nothing about the heroin. He also
testified that he lied to Detective Vernon about delivering
the heroin to Rehoboth in order to cut a deal.
appeal, Law's counsel ("Counsel") filed a brief
and a motion to withdraw under Supreme Court Rule 26(c),
asserting that, based upon a complete and careful examination
of the record, there are no arguably appealable issues.
Counsel informed Law of the provisions of Rule 26(c) and
provided Law with a copy of the motion to withdraw and the
Counsel also informed Law of his right to identify any points
he wished this Court to consider on appeal. Law has raised
two issues for this Court's consideration. The State has
responded to the Rule 26(c) brief and has moved to affirm the
Superior Court's judgment.
When reviewing a motion to withdraw and an accompanying brief
under Rule 26(c), this Court must: (i) be satisfied that
defense counsel has made a conscientious examination of the
record and the law for arguable claims; and (ii) conduct its
own review of the record and determine whether the appeal is
so totally devoid of at least arguably appealable issues that
it can be decided without an adversary
raises two issues on appeal. He argues that the Superior
Court erred in denying his pro se motion to suppress
the heroin found in the car and infringed upon his right to
represent himself. We review the Superior Court's denial
of a motion to suppress for abuse of
discretion. We review issues of law de
novo.As he did below, Law argues that the
traffic stop was a pretext to conduct an illegal search for
drugs based on racial discrimination. Law also argues that
the State's failure ...