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Woods v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

February 14, 2019

DANIEL WOODS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: November 26, 2018

          Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID Nos. 1702009428 (N), 1702009077

          Before VALIHURA, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.

          ORDER

          COLLINS J. SEITZ, JR. JUSTICE.

         This 14th day of February 2019, upon consideration of the brief under Supreme Court Rule 26(c), appellate counsel's motion to withdraw, and the State's response, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) On February 14, 2017, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Delaware State Police responded to a 911 call regarding a suspicious vehicle in the area of Blackbird Station Road in Townsend. The caller described the vehicle as a black Jeep Wrangler and provided a Delaware tag number. Corporal Raymond Shatley drove to the area and spotted the Jeep. Corporal Shatley activated his patrol vehicle's lights and siren and attempted to initiate a stop.

         (2) The driver of the Jeep-who turned out to be the appellant, Daniel Woods-disregarded the police signal and fled, with Corporal Shatley in pursuit. Trooper Edwin Ramirez and Corporal William Walker joined in the chase with Trooper Ramirez' vehicle taking the lead. At one point, the Jeep came to a stop at the entrance of the Saint Anne's Golf Course, where the driver opened his door and discarded several items. Corporal Walker returned to that spot later that morning and retrieved the discarded items, which turned out to be DVDs.

         (3) The chase lasted about twenty-five minutes and ended when the Jeep overheated and came to a complete stop. At the direction of Trooper Ramirez, Woods got out of the Jeep with his hands up and got on the ground. When conducting a pat down search of Woods, Trooper Ramirez removed a pocket knife from Woods' front pants pocket. Also, Trooper Ramirez saw several bracelets, other jewelry, and multiple DVDs on the floor of, and scattered inside, the Jeep.

         (4) At approximately 1:00 p.m. on February 14, 2017, Laura Campbell returned home from work after receiving a call from her husband that their home (located at 505 Dogtown Road in Townsend) had been broken into. Laura Campbell noted that the front door of the home was damaged, and that a number of items were missing from inside the home, including her laptop, two Xbox systems, jewelry, and DVDs. Unfortunately for the Campbells, their home was burglarized again on February 16, 2017. In the second break-in, the intruder entered the home through a kitchen window and stole a scope mounting kit for a firearm and a clarinet.

         (5) Some of the property taken in the February 14 burglary-namely, the jewelry and some of the DVDs-were returned to the Campbells on February 14, 2017. The laptop and Xbox systems were returned to the Campbells on February 23, 2017, when Corporal Walker retrieved those items from a construction worker who had called the police to report finding the items when working at the Saint Anne's Golf Course.

         (6) Woods was indicted and tried for offenses arising from the vehicle chase and the February 14 burglary of the Campbell residence. On January 5, 2018, the jury convicted Woods of Burglary in the Second Degree, Felony Theft, Criminal Mischief, Disregarding a Police Officer's Signal, Resisting Arrest, and Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon.

         (7) Immediately after the verdict was read, Woods interrupted the proceedings to tell the Superior Court that he wanted to move "for an acquittal on the charges."[1] The trial judge denied the request as follows:

Mr. Woods, you have chosen up to this point to allow Mr. Buckworth to represent you. If you decide at this point to go pro se, the Court needs to have a hearing and address a motion to proceed pro se. It's not one that I would suggest that you make, but you're free to do so. But I'm not going to consider an oral motion at this time. It's a motion that you need to make in writing and the Court will address it at a later time.[2]

         Woods did not revisit the matter of proceeding pro se, and he did not file a written motion for judgment of acquittal. On April 27, 2018, the Superior Court declared Woods a habitual offender and sentenced him to fourteen years of Level V incarceration for the second-degree burglary conviction ...


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