RK14-06-0435-01 PFBPP PABPP
Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to
Superior Court Criminal Rule 61
C. Cohee, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of
Justice, for the State of Delaware.
Blenman, Pro se.
COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. Freud Commissioner.
defendant, Turhan Blenman ("Blenman") was found
guilty as charged, following a Bench trial on June 16, 2015,
of two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Person
Prohibited, 11 Del. C. § 1448(a)(9). Prior to
trial the State dismissed a number of additional offenses
including Drug Dealing and Possession of a Firearm During
Commission of a Felony. On August 27, 2017, the Court
sentenced Blenman to six years minimum mandatory time
incarceration followed by one year of probation.
timely Notice of Appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court was
filed. Blenman's Trial Counsel filed a brief and motion
to withdraw pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 26(c). In the
motion to withdraw, appellate counsel represented that she
conducted a conscientious review of the record and concluded
that no meritorious issues existed. By letter, counsel
informed Blenman of the provisions of Rule 26(c) and attached
a copy of the motion to withdraw and accompanying brief.
Blenman was informed of his right to supplement his
attorney's presentation. Blenman, pro se, raised
eight issues for appeal for the Supreme Court to consider,
which the Supreme Court classified as follows:
(10) Blenman's arguments on appeal may be summarized as
follows: (i) the State violated Brady v. Maryland
and Superior Court Rule 16 by failing to collect the blanket
wrapped around the rifles, take photographs of the first
floor bedroom closet where the rifles were discovered, and
collect the clothes in the closet; (ii) he was denied his
right to challenge the search warrant; (iii) he was denied
his right to a speedy trial; (iv) he was not given the
opportunity to examine the evidence offered by the State at
trial; (v) the State failed to provide him with exculpatory
evidence in a timely manner; (vi) he was denied his right to
present exculpatory evidence; (vii) there was insufficient
evidence to support his convictions; and (vii) ineffective
assistance of counsel.
October 7, 2016, Blenman filed a motion for postconviction
relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. On
October 28, 2016 he filed a motion for appointment of
counsel. He raised four grounds for relief including
ineffective assistance of counsel. On November 18, 2016, the
Court granted the motion for appointment of counsel, and on
May 30, 2107, Brian T. N. Jordan, Esq. ("Appointed
Counsel") was appointed to represent Blenman. After an
extremely thorough and conscientious review of the facts, the
record and the law in the case, Appointed Counsel filed a
motion to withdraw as counsel on October 16, 2017, along with
a memorandum in support of the motion, having concluded that
the motion was wholly without merit and that no meritorious
grounds for relief existed. Thereafter, on February 13, 2018,
the Court requested that Appointed Counsel supplement his
motion to further address one of Blenman's claims. The
supplement was filed by Appointed Counsel on March 5, 2018.
Blenman was sent a copy of the motion to withdraw and given
30 days to file a response. Appointed Counsel's motion to
withdraw was granted by the Court on March 23,
Blenman moved to amend his pro se motion for
postconviction relief on July 16, 2018, after his Trial
Counsel and the State had responded to his initial motion.
After several revised brief schedules the matter finally
completed briefing and was sent for decision.
are the facts as set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court:
(4) The basic facts from the trial record that explain the
evidence presented at trial provide context for an
examination of Blenman's many claims of potential error.
One key body of evidence involved testimony regarding the
search during which weapons were found at Blenman's
house. The trial transcript in this case reflects that, on
June 11, 2014, the Dover Police Department executed a search
warrant for a house at 28 Vera Way in Dover, Delaware. When
the police entered the house, a small child, the child's
mother, and Blenman's mother were present. Steven Huey
and Chrissy Guzman, who was Blenman's girlfriend, arrived
while the police were searching the house.
(5) The first floor of the house contained a living room,
kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Corporal Aaron Dickinson
testified that he found multiple pieces of mail bearing
Blenman's name and a different address in the first floor
bedroom. Corporal Dickinson also found a business card with
Blenman's name. Corporal Dickinson did not recall if he
saw mail bearing a name other than Blenman's name.
(6) Corporal Dickson testified that he looked in a closet
located in the first floor bedroom, but did not search it.
Corporal Dickinson did not recall if he saw women's
clothing or a purse in the first floor bedroom. An inventory
of the items seized during the search reflected that a purse
was found in the first floor bedroom. Corporal Dickinson was
also on the second floor of the house, but only recalled
searching a closet where he found a postage box addressed to
Blenman at 28 Vera Way. According to Detective Anthony
DiGirolomo, there was a small bedroom on the second floor
with a small bed and a child's belongings and another
room that was basically empty.
(7) Detective Christopher Bumgarner testified that when he
looked in the closet in the first floor bedroom he saw a
rifle barrel sticking out of a blanket. Two rifles were
wrapped in the blanket. Detective Bumgarner testified that
the closet contained men's clothing and that he did not
recall seeing any women's clothing in the closet or
house. Detective DiGirolomo indicated that most of the
clothing in the first floor bedroom belonged to a man, but
there were possibly a few items of women's clothing. He
did not see any female toiletries in the bathroom off of the
first floor bedroom. No ammunition was found in the house.
(8) The other key evidence against Blenman was his own
recorded statement. Detective DiGirolomo testified at trial
that Blenman eventually arrived at the house during the
search and was taken into custody. After receiving
Miranda warnings, Blenman chose to speak to
Detective DiGirolomo. The interview was played at trial.
During the interview, Blenman stated that he and his son were
the only people who lived at 28 Vera Way. Blenman further
stated that he had paid cash for the rifles and that the
rifles had not been used in any crimes.
(9) The defense did not call any witnesses at trial. The
parties stipulated that Blenman was a person prohibited from
owning or possession firearms. The Superior Court found that
Blenman was guilty of PFBPP. This appeal
initial motion, Blenman raises the following grounds for
Ground one: Ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to
file a motion to suppress evidence.
Ground two: Blenman alleges the search warrant was inadequate
because it did not list firearms as something sought.
Ground three: Blenman alleges that there was inadequate
testing of the heroin ...