KEVIN A. WALKER, Defendant Below, Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.
Submitted: December 6, 2018
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware I.D. No.
Stephanie Blaisdell, Esquire, Assistant Public Defender,
Dover, Delaware, for Appellant, Kevin A. Walker.
Williams, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Dover, Delaware,
for Appellee, State of Delaware.
VAUGHN, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
Kevin A. Walker, appeals from a Superior Court order finding
that he violated the terms of his probation. The issue we
address is whether evidence seized as a result of an unlawful
administrative search of Walker's residence should have
been suppressed from use as evidence at his violation of
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
began probation on May 10, 2017, as a result of a felony
driving-under-the-influence conviction. On June 1, 2017, the
State received a tip from a past-proven reliable informant
that Walker had heroin in his home that he planned to
distribute. On June 5, 2017, Delaware probation officers
conducted an administrative search of Walker's residence
pursuant to an administrative warrant. Administrative
warrants and searches are authorized by 11 Del. C.
§ 4321(d), which permits the State to conduct
administrative searches of probationers that are "in
accordance with Department [of Correction] procedures."
The Department of Correction promulgated Probation and Parole
Procedure 7.19 ("Procedure 7.19"), which sets out
the procedural requirements for conducting administrative
the search, probation officers discovered 252 bags of heroin,
drug paraphernalia, and a locked safe. The officers took the
safe to Delaware State Police Troop 3. After the officers
opened the safe there, they found a loaded 9mm handgun, five
doses of Suboxone,  and five grams of marijuana. The Delaware
State Police then arrested Walker and took him to the Sussex
Correctional Institution ("SCI"). At SCI,
correctional officers found 86 bags of heroin and nine grams
of crack cocaine inside Walker's rectum.
criminal proceeding based on the new charges, Walker filed a
motion to suppress all the evidence found as a result the
administrative search, claiming that the search was not
conducted in accordance with the provisions of 11 Del.
C. § 4321(d) and Procedure 7.19. At the suppression
hearing, the Superior Court, guided by our decision in
Culver v. State,  analyzed the four factors that the
probation officer and the officer's supervisor were
required to consider under Procedure 7.19 before making the
decision to conduct the administrative search. In
Culver, we explained that Procedure 7.19 requires
officer and supervisor will hold a case conference . . . .
During the case conference the supervisor will review the
"Yes" or "No" responses of the officer to
the following search decision factors:
(1) Sufficient reason to believe the offender possesses
(2)Sufficient reason to believe the offender is in violation