Submitted: March 25, 2019
the State's Motion for Reargument is Granted.
Lindsay A. Taylor, Esquire of the Department of Justice,
Dover, Delaware; attorney for the State of Delaware.
Stephanie H. Blaisdell, Esquire of the Office of the Public
Defender, Dover, Delaware; attorney for the Defendant.
William L. Witham, Jr. Resident Judge
this Court is the State of Delaware Department of Justice and
its Motion for Reargument pursuant to Superior Court Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e) which applies under Superior Court Rule
of Civil Procedure 57(d). After considering the motion, and
the Defendant's response in opposition, it appears to the
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Court incorporates factual and procedural findings from its
order dated March 13, 2019.
Court granted Defendant Matthew Frost's (hereinafter
"Defendant") Motion to Suppress on March 13,
2019. The Court granted the Defendant's
motion based on its belief that the State had not
demonstrated that the Delaware State Police had probable
cause to believe that the Defendant was in possession of drug
paraphernalia and drugs.
State moves for reargument regarding that order and bases its
argument on three grounds. First, the State contends that the
Court misapprehended the appropriate standard for probable
cause and the facts of the case in a manner that changed the
result of the case. Second, the State contends the Court
erred in admitting certain evidence, which it claims was not
properly authenticated. Finally, the State argues that the
Court misapplied the doctrine of inevitable discovery.
response to the State's motion for reargument, the
Defendant argues in opposition that the State has not met its
burden to "demonstrate newly discovered evidence, a
change in the law, or manifest injustice." The Defendant
further argues that the Court correctly applied the legal
principles of the inevitability doctrine and that Tfc.
Holl's abandonment of seeking verification of the
defendant's insurance, establishes only speculation on
behalf of the State that the Defendant would not have been
able to produce proof of insurance.
Where the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure provide
no rule governing a particular practice, that practice is
governed by the Superior Court Rules of Civil
Procedure. As a result, a motion for reargument in a
criminal case is governed by Superior Court Rule of Civil
motion for reargument pursuant to Rule 59(e) will be granted
only if "the Court has overlooked a controlling
precedent or legal principles, or the Court has
misapprehended the law or facts such as would have changed
the outcome of the underlying
decision.'" A motion for reargument is not an
opportunity for a party to rehash arguments already decided
by the Court or to present new arguments not previously
raised. In order for the motion to be granted, the
movant must "demonstrate newly discovered evidence, a
change in the law, or manifest injustice."
of the purposes of a Rule 59(e) Motion for Reargument is to
provide the Court "with an opportunity to reconsider a
matter and to correct any alleged legal or factual errors
prior to an appeal." Here, after considering the
parties' contentions, the Court agrees with the State
that sufficient grounds exist that warrant reargument.
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits
unreasonable searches and seizures by state agents. Searches
are presumptively unreasonable unless they are supported by a
valid warrant obtained on a showing of probable
cause. The automobile exception, however, permits
the police to search a vehicle without a warrant if probable
cause exists to believe the vehicle contains
contraband. Police officers may arrest individuals
if the officer has probable cause to believe that the
individual has committed a crime.
officer has probable cause when he or she has information
which would cause a reasonable person to believe that such a
crime has taken place. Probable cause is measured "not
by precise standards, but by the totality of the
circumstances through a case by case review of the
'factual and practical considerations of everyday life on
which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians,
act.'" To establish probable cause, the police
need only present facts which suggest, when those facts are
viewed under the totality of the circumstances, that there is
a fair probability that the defendant has committed a
crime. The objective facts available to an
officer, not his subjective thoughts, control whether he had
the power to arrest an individual and conduct a search
incident to the arrest.
police do not need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,
nor even prove guilt is more likely than not. Additionally,
the possibility there may be hypothetically innocent
explanations for facts revealed during a police investigation
does not preclude a determination that probable cause exists
for an arrest.
First, the Court finds that it held the State to an
impermissible standard regarding probable cause. In the March
13, 2019 order, the Court stated:
while the Court would not characterize the nail file as in
pristine condition, it can not definitively state that the
nail file, as presented, is covered partially by heroin
residue. For all the Court knows, there could be another
substance on the nail file such as rust or
this case, the Court disagrees with the State that it did not
base its determination as to the lack of probable cause
pursuant to the totality of the circumstances standard that
is mandated by Maxwell and its progeny. On the other
hand, however, the Court agrees with the State that it
misapplied the law as it pertains to certain portions of its
analysis. Specifically, it appears that the Court, in its
March 13, 2019 order, precluded Tfc. Holl's probable
cause to search the Defendant's vehicle based, in part,
on the possibility that the nail file was covered in rust or
dirt. This innocent explanation for the condition of the nail
file is an impressible basis to preclude probable cause.
Likewise, the Court also finds that it held the State to an
improper burden of ...