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State v. Williams

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

January 16, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
ALVIN L. WILLIAMS, I.D. and JIMMY F. ARTIS, I.D. Defendants.

          Submitted: January 3, 2019

         Upon Defendants' Motions for Reargument. Granted.

          Sean A. Motoyoshi, Esquire

          Zachary A. George, Esquire

          Sean A. Motoyoshi, Esquire of the Department of Justice, Dover, Delaware; attorney for the State of Delaware.

          Zachary A. George, Esquire of Hudson Jones Jaywork & Fisher, LLC, Dover, Delaware; attorney for Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON. WILLIAM L. WITHAM, JR. RESIDENT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court are Defendants, Alvin Williams and Jimmy Artis ("Williams/Artis"), and their Motions for Reargument.[1] Both motions follow this Court's November 21, 2018 order that denied Williams/Artis' Motion to Disclose Confidential Informants.[2] The State filed its response in opposition to the instant motion on December 10, 2018. The Court heard oral arguments on December 21, 2018 and reserved judgment.

         After carefully considering the motions, responses, and oral arguments, the Court finds Williams/Artis have demonstrated sufficient grounds for reargument. For the forthcoming reasons, the motions for reargument are hereby GRANTED.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         1. Williams is charged with one count of drug dealing pursuant to 16 Del. C. § 4754(1). He filed his motion to disclose confidential informants on October 9, 2018[3] and asserted that individuals he allegedly sold drugs to were identified in an Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ("ATF") report by Detective Bumgarner, as confidential informants 1850 and 8892.[4]

         2. Artis is charged with four counts of drug dealing pursuant to 16 Del. C. § 4754(1). He filed his motion to disclose confidential informants on October 18, 2018[5]and also asserted that individuals he allegedly sold drugs to were confidential informants.

         3. The Court denied both motions in an order on November 21, 2018. Williams/Artis subsequently filed timely motions for reargument on November 26, 2018.[6] The State filed its responses in opposition on December 10, 2018 and oral arguments were heard on December 21, 2018.[7] The Court reserved judgment.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         4. A motion for reargument in a criminal case is governed by Superior Court Civil Rule ("Rule") 59(e).[8] Upon a Rule 59(e) motion, the Court has the discretion[9] to determine the merits of the motion.[10]

         5. A motion for reargument will be granted only if "the Court has overlooked a controlling precedent or legal principles, or the Court has misapprehended the law or facts such as would have changed the outcome of the underlying decision."[11] A motion for reargument is not an opportunity for a party to rehash arguments already decided by the Court or to present new arguments not previously raised.[12]

         6. The party seeking reargument has the burden to demonstrate newly discovered evidence, a change in the law, or manifest injustice.[13]

         DISCUSSION

         7. The Court will first address Williams' motion for reargument.[14] Williams argues that the Court "misapprehended the law and facts in a manner that would change the outcome of the case."[15] As before, he asserts that the State's witnesses were in fact not witnesses, but "confidential informants [as] parties to the alleged illegal transaction...."[16] and fall under Flowers[17] Category 4, requiring disclosure.

         8. Now, however, for the first time, Williams argues that there is an issue of material fact regarding whether the witnesses are "witnesses" or "confidential informants." He asserts the State's classification of these individuals as witnesses requires the Court to hold a Flowers evidentiary hearing to determine whether the witnesses are in fact "witnesses," or "confidential informants."[18]

         9. The State, in opposition, counters that a Flowers hearing is inappropriate because it has not, nor does it intend to, invoke its privilege pursuant to Delaware Uniform Rule of Evidence (D.R.E.) 509[19] regarding confidential informants because there are no confidential informants in this case.[20] At oral argument, the State argued that the individuals' identities would be disclosed before trial, where they would be called to testify as witnesses for the State.

         10. At first glance, Williams' motion for reargument appears to be a new argument and prohibited pursuant to Rule 59(e). He further fails to present new evidence that might support his assertion.

         11. Delaware law is clear. Superior Court Criminal Rule ("Rule") 16 provides that the State is not required to disclose the identity of its witnesses prior to trial[21] or to provide a "complete and detailed accounting...of all police investigatory work on a case."[22] The State also correctly states that a Flowers hearing is generally appropriate only when it has invoked privilege pursuant to D.R.E. 509.[23] Thus, it appears the Court should deny Williams/Artis' motions.

         12. However, this case deeply troubles the Court. Specifically, the Court is disturbed by Williams' allegation that the individuals in question are, in reality, confidential informants. This ...


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