Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Reese

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

March 18, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
THERION REESE, Defendant.

          Date Submitted: January 15, 2019

         Upon Consideration of Defendant's Motion to Suppress: GRANTED

          Daniel B. McBride, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

          Kevin P. Tray, Esquire, Law Office of Kevin P. Tray, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the Defendant.

          OPINION

          Jan R. Jurden, President Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On February 6, 2017, the Wilmington Police Department (the "WPD") arrested Therion Reese. A magistrate issued a search warrant for the cellular phone found on Reese's person when arrested. Before the Court is Reese's Motion to Suppress evidence discovered during a search of the cellular phone.

         II. FACTS

         When WPD arrested Reese on February 6, 2017, WPD seized a cellular phone found on his person.[1] On February 15, 2017, Detective Robert Fox ("Det. Fox") sought and was granted a search warrant of Reese's cellular phone. Det. Fox sought the search warrant as part of the investigation of the January 20, 2017 Kaden Young homicide and Shyjuan Dickerson shooting.

         In connection with the investigation of "Murder 1st Degree and related offenses," the search warrant authorized the search and seizure of:

[A]ny/all data stored by whatever means, or through normal course of business of an unknown wireless service, and/or through the forensic examination of said cellular telephone, to include but not limited to registry entries, pictures, photographs, images, audio/visual recordings, multi-media messages, web browsing activities, electronic documents, location information, text messaging, writings, user names, subscriber identifiers, buddy names, screen names, calendar information, call logs, electronic mail, telephone numbers, any similar information/data indicia of communication, and any other information/data pertinent to this investigation within said scope.[2]

         The affidavit of probable cause sets forth the following facts.[3] On January 20, 2017, Kaden Young was shot and killed and Shyjuan Dickerson was shot in the 1200 block of Elm Street Wilmington, Delaware.[4] Around 1521 hours, WPD received several calls that shots were fired in the 1200 block of Elm Street. The responding officers found Young, who was unresponsive. The officers administered medical aid to Young until medical personnel arrived. Young was then transported to Christiana Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Dickerson fled the scene, flagged down an ambulance, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital for treatment and later released.

         Various witnesses stated that leading up to the shooting a man identified as "Chume" exited a corner store and called over two or three other men. At this time, Young approached the group and had a verbal altercation with Chume. Chume then told one of the men to "blow him" and one of the men with Chume began to shoot. A witness stated that a group of black males dressed in knitted hats, black jackets and light colored pants might have been standing around someone on the ground but the witness was unsure because their view was obstructed. After hearing gunshots, several men were observed leaving the scene in a "gold 4dr vehicle."

         Surveillance footage from the corner store and other locations supports the witnesses' statements. The corner store footage shows three black males matching the description provided by a witness. Two of the men were identified as Reese and Joquan White. The men exited the corner store at approximately 1518 hours. The footage shows the victim walking down the street at 1519 hours and then the shooting began at 1520 and 58 seconds. After the shooting, a tan four door car "with distinct damage to the passenger rear quarter panel and front bumper" fled the scene.

         An incident inquiry of Reese revealed three reported incidents. A report for an October 2, 2016 incident stated that Reese was observed operating a tan 2005 Kia Spectra registered to Sade Ferguson. A second report from December 15, 2016 revealed a domestic incident between Reese and Ferguson. A third report from December 28, 2016 stated that Detective Charles Pruitt investigated an unrelated incident between Ferguson and Reese, where Ferguson's tan car was observed fleeing the scene of a shooting with the suspected shooter inside.

         On February 6, 2017, Reese was arrested for an unrelated incident. Ferguson and White were also taken into custody. Police found a cellular phone on each of them. When arrested, Reese was wearing a black bubble type coat.[5] White was arrested wearing a black North Face jacket and had a backpack filled with clothes.[6]

         While in police custody, Ferguson stated that Reese goes by the name "Pume." Ferguson stated that she was incarcerated from January 13, 2017 to January 27, 2017 and during that time Reese had possession of her car, a tan sedan. Ferguson knew Reese possessed her car because when she was incarcerated Reese and his mother retrieved Ferguson's personal effects, including her car keys and cellular phone. After viewing a surveillance still image of the car fleeing the January 20, 2017 shooting, Ferguson identified the car as her tan sedan based on the distinctive damage.

         Ferguson stated that she knew Young and she previously had a relationship with his cousin, who is incarcerated. According to Ferguson, Reese and Young's cousin had ongoing issues that started in the summer of 2016. While Ferguson was incarcerated, Young's cousin reached out to her without knowing she was incarcerated and that Reese had her cellular phone. Reese answered Ferguson's cellular phone and got into an argument with Young's cousin. Ferguson stated that before Reese and Young's cousin argument Reese and Young had a "back and forth ... over social media [about Young's cousin]." On approximately January 15, 2017, Ferguson called Reese and they had an argument. During the argument, Reese told Ferguson "he was going to take care of [Young's cousin] when he gets out of jail." Ferguson called Reese again on January 20, 2017-the day of the shooting. During this conversation, Reese told Ferguson that Young was shot and then Reese laughed and told her that he did not shoot Young but he had his "young boy do it." Then on either January 22nd or 23rd Ferguson called one of her children's godmothers and was informed that Reese had totaled her car and left it in a McDonald's parking lot in Philadelphia. Ferguson was told that White accompanied Reese when he left the car. Based on Ferguson's statement, WPD located and seized her car.

         When questioned, White initially told the police that he was not in the area of the shooting and did not know Reese. After being shown surveillance footage of the January 20, 2017 shooting, White stated he was at the shooting and heard gunshots but did not see anything and ran away. Surveillance footage determined that White lied when he said that he walked to the area of the shooting and then ran away.

         When questioned, Reese denied being present at the shooting and invoked his right to remain silent.

In paragraph twelve, the affidavit of probable cause states:
Your affiant can truly state through training, knowledge, and experience that persons involved in criminal acts will utilize Mobile Electronic Devices such as cellular telephones to further facilitate their criminal acts and/or communicate (whether texting or calling) with coconspirators. Mobile Electronic Devices are similar to computers in that they can process, store, and retrieve electronic data. Mobile Electronic Devices, such as cellular telephones and electronic organizers, are capable of processing, storing, and retrieving a large amount of data. A trained professional in the area of computer forensics can retrieve this data in either a logical and physical manner. In addition, depending on the particular device, data that has been deleted, purged naturally, or physically can often be recovered. Moreover, businesses associated with mobile electronic devices, including individual carriers of cellular services, maintain as business records a variety of digital data associated with individual cellular telephones.[7]

         III. PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         Reese contends that the WPD violated his constitutional rights by searching the cellular phone because the search warrant failed to establish a nexus between the crimes investigated and the cellular phone searched, and the search warrant was unconstitutionally overbroad and insufficiently particular. Reese argues that the instant search warrant is similar to the search warrant found unconstitutional in Buckham v. State[8]

         The State contends that a nexus was established between the crimes investigated and the cellular phone searched. The State argues that the search warrant is similar to the search warrants upheld in State v. Anderson[9] and State v. Taylor[10] and not the insufficient Buckham search warrant.

         IV. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         For a motion to suppress, the defendant bears the burden of proof to show that the search warrant was unlawful.[11] The defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the search and/or seizure violated their rights under the United States Constitution, the Delaware Constitution, or Delaware Statutes.[12]

         In order to issue a valid search warrant that meets the standards set forth in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 6 of the Delaware Constitution and not violate the defendant's right requires a showing of probable cause in support of a search warrant.[13] The "four corners" test determines whether an warrant application/affidavit establishes probable cause solely through the facts set forth on its face.[14] Those facts must be adequate enough for the issuing magistrate to form a reasonable inference or logical nexus "that an offense has been committed and the property to be seized will be found in a particular place."[15] Therefore, to establish probable cause, the facts in the affidavit, standing alone, must create a reasonable inference or logical nexus between "the items being sought and the place to be searched."[16]

         With respect to a motion to suppress, the Court shall determine whether there was a substantial basis to conclude probable cause existed and that the issuing magistrate's determination was based on the totality of the circumstances.[17] When reviewing the validity of a search warrant, the Court gives "great deference" to the issuing magistrate's determination that probable cause supported the warrant.[18] To determine the sufficiency of a search warrant, the Court, like the issuing magistrate, is limited to information contained within the "four-corners" of the affidavit of probable cause.[19] The Court must also consider the totality of the circumstances based on the four corners of the affidavit because the issuing magistrate may draw "reasonable inferences from the factual allegations in the affidavit."[20]

         V. DISCUSSION

         Nexus Between Search Warrant ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.