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Harris v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 5, 2019

MYLES HARRIS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: November 7, 2018

          Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID Nos. 1702016968 (N), 1703019702A, 1703019702B

          Before VAUGHN, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.

          ORDER

          COLLINS J. SEITZ, JR., JUSTICE

         Upon consideration of the no-merit brief and motion to withdraw filed by the appellant's counsel under Supreme Court Rule 26(c), the State's response, and the Superior Court record, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) In 2017, as part of a drug investigation, members of the Wilmington Police Department conducted surveillance of a condominium unit at 110 Towne Estate Drive where the appellant, Myles Harris, lived with his brother. On February 23, 2017, Detective Alexis Schupp observed Harris leave the residence and drive to Chestnut Street where he engaged in what appeared to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction with Angela Wagner. After the transaction, Detective Schupp followed Harris and pulled him over in the parking lot of the Adams Four Shopping Center. Detective Schupp removed Harris from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs. Detective Schupp then found what appeared to be several "logs" of heroin[1] on the driver's seat of Harris' vehicle and three cell phones and $225 cash in the vehicle's center console.

         (2) Detective Danielle Farrell followed Wagner as she proceeded on foot after her meeting with Harris. Detective Farrell approached Wagner and asked if she had any drugs on her. Wagner indicated that she did and removed what appeared to be a log of heroin from her bra.

         (3) Following their interactions with Harris and Wagner on February 23, Detectives Schupp and Farrell joined other officers in a search of Harris' condominium unit. The two Detectives also participated in a second search of the unit on March 27. In the February 23 search, the police recovered what appeared to be several logs of heroin that were hidden behind an air-conditioning unit in a balcony on the first floor. And in a second floor bedroom, the police recovered personal paperwork belonging to Harris (including his birth certificate and a Delmarva Power bill in his name, at the condominium unit's address), a digital scale, plastic sandwich bags, and a large amount of money hidden in several shoeboxes and a Tide pods container. In the March 27 search, the police recovered another shoebox of cash from the same second floor bedroom and what appeared to be several logs of heroin, several grams of cocaine, and a loaded handgun that were hidden in a vent behind the stove and microwave in the kitchen.

         (4) Harris and his brother were jointly indicted and tried before a jury for a number of drug and gun-related offenses and on charges of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and possession of ammunition by a person prohibited. The person-prohibited charges were severed from the drug and gun-related charges.

         (5) On January 12, 2018, at the end of a four-day trial, the jury convicted Harris of two counts of Drug Dealing Tier 4, one count of Drug Dealing Tier 2 with an Aggravating Factor, two counts of Drug Dealing, two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and one count each of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Weapon with an Obliterated Serial Number.[2] The jury acquitted Harris' brother. After the verdict, Harris was tried before the same jury on the person-prohibited charges and was convicted.

         (6) Harris was sentenced to a total of nine years of Level V incarceration for the drug and gun-related offenses. For his person-prohibited convictions, Harris was sentenced to a total of ten years of Level V incarceration suspended for eight years of Level IV supervision suspended after six months for Level III probation. This is Harris' direct appeal.

         (7) In the Rule 26(c) brief and motion to withdraw, Harris' trial counsel asserts that, based upon a complete and careful examination of the record, there are no arguably appealable issues. Harris has supplemented the brief with claims he would like us to consider on appeal. The State has responded to the position taken by Harris' trial counsel, the claims raised by Harris, and has moved to affirm the Superior Court's judgment.

         (8) When considering a Rule 26(c) brief and motion to withdraw, our standard and scope of review is twofold.[3] First, we must be satisfied that the appellant's counsel has made a conscientious examination of the record and the law for claims that could arguably support the appeal.[4] Second, we must conduct our own review of the record to determine whether the appeal is so totally devoid of at least arguably appealable issues that it can be decided without an adversary presentation.[5]

         (9) In his written submission on appeal, Harris claims that he was convicted on the basis of insufficient evidence. He argues that Wagner's trial testimony lacked credibility and that an "officer" -Harris does not identify which officer- "switched [his or her] story multiple times on the stand." Harris argues that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of the two weapon possession charges- Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Weapon with an Obliterated Serial Number-because there was no physical evidence linking him to the gun that was seized on March 27. And he further argues that the State could not prove beyond ...


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