United States District Court, D. Delaware
DALE E. GUILFOIL, Petitioner,
ROBERT MAY, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.
E. Guilfoil. Pro se Petitioner.
L. Arban, Deputy Attorney General of the Delaware Department
of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for Respondents.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
CONNOLLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Petitioner Dale E. Guilfoil's
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 ("Petition"), which he filed while
incarcerated at the Sussex Correctional
Institution. (D.I. 3; D.I. 18) The State filed an
Answer in opposition. (D.I. 23) For the reasons discussed,
the Court will deny the Petition.
forth by the Delaware Supreme Court in Petitioner's
direct appeal, the facts leading to his arrest and conviction
are as follows:
On July 6, 2014, Maria Egger ("Egger") hosted a
yard sale at her home in Hartly, Delaware. At the conclusion
of the sale, Egger observed a white truck in her driveway.
[Petitioner] was in the driver's seat "pressing on
the gas" and revving the engine while a female companion
of his was "in front of the truck trying to push
it." After unsuccessfully attempting to persuade
[Petitioner] to stop pressing on the gas and his female
companion to step away from the vehicle, Egger backed her car
into another part of the driveway and called the police.
Detective Michael Weinstein ("Detective
Weinstein"), then a member of the Delaware State Police
Patrol Division at Troop 3 ("Troop 3"), responded
to the call. When Detective Weinstein approached the truck,
he observed "several open beer cans inside the
vehicle." Detective Weinstein stated to [Petitioner]:
"You've been drinking today." [Petitioner], who
had "bloodshot, glassy eyes," admitted that he had
been. [Petitioner] also admitted that he had been driving.
Further, Detective Weinstein testified that, when
[Petitioner] exited the truck, he had difficulty maintaining
his balance, slurred speech, a strong odor of alcohol
emanating from his person, and had urinated in his pants.
Detective Weinstein performed an HGN field sobriety test on
[Petitioner], who was unable to maintain his balance during
the administration of the test and had to lean on his
vehicle. Detective Weinstein testified that he "observed
six clues" of impairment when performing the test, and
stated that "[a]nything more than four clues indicates
that there is a 77 percent likelihood that the
defendant's blood alcohol content is greater than
.10." On July 6, 2014, after performing the HGN field
sobriety test, Detective Weinstein transported [Petitioner]
to Troop 3 to obtain a blood sample. Detective Weinstein
observed Hal Blades ("Blades"), a phlebotomist,
obtain the sample. On July 16, 2014, the sample was
transferred from Troop 3 to the Delaware State Police Crime
Laboratory by James Daneshgar ("Daneshgar"). The
analysis performed on the blood sample revealed that
[Petitioner] had a BAC of 0.19.
Shortly before trial, the State informed defense counsel that
Daneshgar was subject to discipline by his employer, the
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ("OCME"), for
recreational drug use. Defense counsel requested that the
prosecution produce Daneshgar to testify regarding his
handling of [Petitioner's] blood sample. Before trial,
[Petitioner] made an oral motion in limine to
exclude the analysis of his blood sample, arguing that the
State made untimely and incomplete disclosures with respect
to Daneshgar in violation of Brady. Further,
[Petitioner] argued that evidence relating to his blood
sample was inadmissible because the State failed to produce a
necessary witness under 21 Del. C. § 4177. The
Superior Court denied [Petitioner's] motion in
limine with respect to the alleged Brady
violation, reasoning that the State disclosed the OCME's
discipline of Daneshgar in writing before trial, that the
jury would be able to consider the information, that any
delay by the State in providing the information was
inadvertent, and that the defense had "adequate time to
use such information at trial...." Nonetheless, the
court ordered the State to provide defense counsel with
Daneshgar's address, enabling the defense to subpoena
Guilfoil v. State, 135 A.3d 78 (Table), 2016 WL
943760, at *1-2 (Del. Mar. 11, 2016).
2015, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted Petitioner of
a seventh offense of driving while under the influence.
See Guilfoil, 2016 WL 943760, at *1. The Superior
Court sentenced him to fifteen years at Level V
incarceration, suspended after six years, followed by one
year at Level III. Id. at Petitioner appealed, and
the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and
sentence on March 11, 2016. (D.I. 23 at 2); see also
Guilfoil, 2016 WL 943760, at *7.
April 20, 2016, Petitioner filed a federal habeas Petition
containing six Claims for relief. (D.I. 3) Claim Six asserted
three instances of alleged official misconduct, one of which
constituted an ineffective assistance of counsel argument
that defense counsel failed to have a mechanic inspect the
truck transmission. (D.I. 3 at 16) In response, the State
filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition without prejudice,
because Petitioner still had the ability to exhaust his
unexhausted ineffective assistance of counsel claim in state
court. (D.I. 10) The Court provided Petitioner with an
opportunity to delete his unexhausted claim in order to
continue with the proceeding, which Petitioner chose to do.
(D.I. 18) Therefore, the Petition presently before the Court
asserts six Claims for relief, absent the ineffective
assistance allegation in Claim Six concerning defense
counsel's failure to have a mechanic inspect the
GOVERNING LEGAL PRINCIPLES
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996 ("AEDPA") "to reduce delays in the
execution of state and federal criminal sentences . . . and
to further the principles of comity, finality, and
federalism." Woodford v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202,
206 (2003). Pursuant to AEDPA, a federal court may consider a
habeas petition filed by a state prisoner only "on the
ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(a). Claims based on errors of state law are not
cognizable on federal habeas review, and federal courts
cannot re-examine state court determinations of state law
issues. See Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U.S. 684, 691
(1975) ("[s]tate courts are the ultimate expositors of
state law"); Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62,
67-68 (1991) (holding that claims based on errors of state
law are not cognizable on habeas review). Additionally, AEDPA
imposes procedural requirements and standards for analyzing
the merits of a habeas petition in order to "prevent
federal habeas 'retrials' and to ensure that
state-court convictions are given effect to the extent
possible under law." Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S.
685, 693 (2002).
Exhaustion and Procedural Default
exceptional circumstances, a federal court cannot grant
habeas relief unless the petitioner has exhausted all means
of available relief under state law. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.
838, 842-44 (1999); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270,
275 (1971). AEDPA states, in pertinent part:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted unless it appears that -
(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the
courts of the State; or
(B)(i) there is an absence of available State corrective
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective
to protect the ...