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State v. Cooper

Superior Court of Delaware

May 7, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
KENNY B.COOPER, Defendant.

          Date submitted: February 7, 2018

          Kelly H. Sheridan, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, 820 N. French St. 7th Floor, Wilmington, DE, 19801. Attorney for the State.

          David C. Skoranski, Esquire, Office of Defense Services, 820 N. French St. 3rdFloor, Wilmington, DE, 19801. Attorney for Defendant.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AS TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          MANNING, COMMISSIONER

         Pending before the Court is a motion filed by Cooper to dismiss the charges against him. Copper alleges that the State has violated his right to a speedy trial as guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment to the United Stated Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Delaware State Constitution, and Superior Court Crim. Rule 48. Because a motion to dismiss is case dispositive, I am issuing my decision in the form of a Report and Recommendation.[1]

         Upon consideration of the arguments of counsel and the relevant legal standards, it is my recommendation that Cooper's Motion to Dismiss should be GRANTED.

         Facts and Procedural History

         Cooper was arrested on May 29, 2016. It is alleged that during an argument with his grandmother Copper pointer his finger in her face and threatened to kill her. Cooper was arrested and has been held in default of bail since the date of the incident. Copper was indicted on August 1, 2016, for one count of Menacing and one count of Terroristic Threatening (felony, victim >62).

         Trial was originally scheduled for November 15, 2016, however, on that date, defense counsel requested that a competency evaluation be conducted. Cooper was subsequently evaluated by Andrew Donohue, DO, of the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC). Dr. Donohue opined that Copper was not competent to stand trial due to his psychotic symptoms and that without a court order for the involuntary administration of anti-psychotic medication pursuant to Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003), restoration was highly unlikely. Dr. Donohue also stated that Cooper was refusing to participate in competency restoration classes.

         An office conference was held before the undersigned commissioner on July 18, 2017. At that time, all parties agreed that an updated competency evaluation should be obtained. On August 4, 2017, Douglas S. Roberts, Psy.D., also of DPC, sent a letter to the Court opining that Cooper was still not competent to stand trial and that without involuntary medication that was unlikely to change.[2]

         A second office conference was held on September 21, 2017, before this commissioner. At that time, the State indicated that it was going to file a Sell Motion to have Cooper involuntarily medicated in an effort to restore competency. The Court ordered the motion to be filed no later than October 31, 2017. To date, the State has filed no such motion. In response to the State's lack of action, Cooper filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on November 29, 2017. After repeated inquires by the Court, the State filed its Response on February 7, 2017. The State's Response does not address Cooper's lack of competency, nor does it move for an order pursuant to Sell v. United States.

         Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

         Speedy Trial

         Cooper argues that his right to a speedy trial has been violated. For this determination, I will utilize the four factor test established by the United States Supreme Court in Barker v. Wingo.[3] The four factors are: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) ...


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