Submitted: November 28, 2018
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID. No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.
T. Vaughn, Jr. Justice
4th day of February 2019, upon consideration of
the parties' briefs and the record on appeal, it appears
that: (1) The appellant, Kareem Bradley, appeals from a jury
verdict finding him guilty of Possession of a Firearm By a
Person Prohibited and Possession of Ammunition by a Person
Prohibited. The firearm involved was found in a garage
possessed by Bradley. He makes one claim on appeal. He claims
that the Superior Court committed plain error by allowing
into evidence items obtained from a warrantless and invalid
search of the garage. His claim is set forth in three
he contends that the search of the garage violated his rights
under the Fourth Amendment and Article I, § 6 of the
Delaware Constitution. In support of this contention, he
argues that the application for the warrant authorizing the
search of the garage contained information obtained from a
prior warrantless, unlawful entry into the garage. He further
argues that the inevitable discovery rule does not apply.
Second, he contends that even if the inevitable discovery
rule applies (or the warrant was otherwise valid), the
warrant was constitutionally defective because the warrant
application lacked particularity. It lacked particularity, he
argues, because it did not establish a nexus between the
garage and his unlawful activity and failed to specify the
places within the garage the police intended to search.
Finally, he contends that the officers exceeded the scope of
the warrant by searching a vehicle in the garage because the
vehicle was not identified in the application for the
November of 2015, Detective Barnes of the Wilmington Police
and FBI Agent Haney received information from a trusted and
past-proven reliable, confidential informant that Bradley was
involved in marijuana distribution in Wilmington. The
informant told the officers that Bradley possessed multiple
firearms, including a handgun with an extended magazine and
an AK-47-style assault rifle. The informant also told the
officers that Bradley lived in Southbridge and frequented a
garage in the area of 13th and Locust Streets.
Furthermore, "the informant advised that s/he observed
Bradley illegally purchase a gun from someone while inside
the shop in the area of 13th and Locust
streets."The informant also supplied the officers
with a text message from Bradley that indicated he was
engaged in trafficking marijuana.
police began surveillance of Bradley in January 2016.
continued for approximately two months. During this period,
the police observed him meeting with subjects and engaging in
what appeared to be hand-to-hand drug transactions. They also
observed that he frequently visited three locations: his
residence at 317 Townsend Street, his mother's residence
at 2303 Thatcher Street, and a garage on the 1200 block of
Locust Street. Officers observed him driving a red Dodge
Challenger and a black Chrysler 300. "There were also
several occasions where, while Bradley was at 317 Townsend or
the garage in the 1200 block of Locust Street, subjects would
respond to these locations and enter/exit same within a few
minutes or less"-activity consistent with drug dealing
according to Detective Barnes's training and
experience. The police searched a trash can at the
curb directly in front of Bradley's residence and found
"numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia," including
"numerous empty, small, torn, knotted plastic sandwich
bags commonly used to package drugs for sale," and a
"small piece of marijuana blunt." In the fourth
week of February, the police stopped an individual after he
had engaged in one of the observed hand-to-hand transactions
with Bradley and found that he possessed marijuana.
February 22, 2016, the police secured a search warrant for
Bradley's residence, the Chrysler, and Bradley's
person (the "first warrant"). At 5:09 p.m. that
same day, Bradley was stopped in his black Chrysler and
arrested; he was found in possession of several individually
packaged bags of marijuana, a large sum of money, and a key
ring with numerous keys. The officers then searched his
residence pursuant to the first warrant and found more
individually packaged bags of marijuana and another large sum
of money. When the officers asked Bradley about the Locust
Street garage, he denied any knowledge of it.
around 6:30 p.m. that night, Detective Barnes and Agent Haney
arrived at and opened the locked garage on Locust Street with
the keys recovered from Bradley. According to Detective
Barnes's testimony at the preliminary hearing, they
walked in after unlocking the garage and observed a parked
car, but did not attempt to open it. After the officers
determined that the keys found on Bradley's person fit
the locks to the garage, Officer Barnes asked Bradley if he
leased the garage. He responded by saying he leased the
garage with a friend to work on cars.
Detective Barnes left to get a search warrant for the garage
(the "garage warrant"), while Agent Haney remained
with other officers to secure the location. The garage
warrant was obtained at 8:30 p.m. The application for the
warrant included the same facts supporting the first warrant,
except the affiant added that the officers found individually
packaged bags of marijuana and large sums of money on
Bradley's person and in his residence while executing the
first warrant, that the keys recovered from Bradley fit the
locks to the garage, that Bradley admitted to leasing the
garage after the keys were confirmed to fit the locks, and
that the informant had previously informed the officers that
he or she observed Bradley illegally purchase a gun from
someone while inside the garage. The affiant also changed the
address of the garage from "1200 block of Locust
Street" to "1203 Locus Street." According to
Detective Barnes's training and experience, Bradley's
actions were consistent with maintaining several caches of
drugs in different locations to facilitate drug dealing.
Although the affidavit did not mention the vehicle in the
garage, the garage warrant authorized the search of a
"[o]ne story brick garage building with a white front
door and a mailbox to the right marked 1203," including
some point, the officers discovered that one of the keys
recovered from Bradley unlocked the car. Agent Haney
observed a zipped, cloth lunchbox sitting on the driver's
seat, in which he found a loaded firearm with an extended
the preliminary hearing, defense counsel ("DC")
questioned Detective Barnes ("DET") concerning the
police's initial entry into the garage:
DC: Prior to the execution of the search warrant nobody went
into the garage, is that what you're telling us?
DET: No. We did go into the garage.
DC: Okay. And what did you do while you were in the garage
waiting for the search warrant, secure it?
DC: And what did that consist of?
DET: Entering, observing what was in the garage, and leaving
DC: Okay. So you walked in the garage. There's basically
nothing in the garage other than this vehicle that you're
talking about, right?
DC: You don't attempt to enter the vehicle or to open any
of the doors. You just see it. You see there's nothing
there of any danger and then you secure the premises ...