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State v. Deputy

Superior Court of Delaware

April 4, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
KEYTWAN L. DEPUTY Defendant.

          Submitted: February 11, 2019

         Upon Defendant's Renewed Motion for Judgment of Acquittal GRANTED

          Honorable Andrea L. Rocanelli, Judge.

         This matter was presented to a jury on October 4, 2018. At the conclusion of the State's evidence, outside the presence of the jury, Defendant Keytwan Deputy ("Defendant") moved for a Judgment of Acquittal. The motion was denied by the Court pursuant to Rule 29(a) of the Superior Court Criminal Rules of Procedure.

         Defendant presented no evidence and rested.

         Defendant renewed his motion for judgment of acquittal. Pursuant to Rule 29(b), the Court reserved decision on the motion and the case was submitted to the jury. The jury returned verdicts of Guilty on Possession of a Firearm By a Person Prohibited and Possession of Ammunition By a Person Prohibited. The Court denied the motion for judgment of acquittal.

         Consistent with Rule 29(c), Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal was renewed during the period of time fixed by the Court.

         State's Evidence Presented at Trial

         The State presented four witnesses: two law enforcement officers and two forensic experts. Detective James Wiggins, the State's Chief Investigating Officer, testified that he executed a search warrant at 1315 Delaware Avenue, Apartment 17, on April 4, 2018. Inside the one-bedroom apartment, a loaded firearm was recovered from inside a blue lawn chair bag located near a mattress leaning up against a wall in the living room.

         Several documents with Defendant's name were also found in the living room. However, none of the documents listed the 1315 Delaware Avenue address. Rather, two pieces of mail indicated the address of 835 North Clayton Street. In the apartment, Police also located a digital camera containing pictures of Defendant and pill bottles prescribed to Defendant. There was male clothing in the apartment that Detective Wiggins described would fit a large adult male, but the clothing was not linked in any way to Defendant. Defendant was not present at the time the search of the apartment was executed and no evidence was presented that Defendant leased the apartment. Although Defendant's DNA was tested, there was no conclusive evidence that Defendant's DNA was anywhere in the apartment and Defendant's fingerprints were not on the firearm.

         The State also presented the testimony of Officer Justin Phelps, who testified that he observed Defendant in the area of 1315 Delaware Avenue approximately 7-10 days prior to the execution of the search warrant. Specifically, Officer Phelps testified that he saw a male he knew to be Defendant walking on the sidewalk near 1315 Delaware Avenue, but Officer Phelps conceded that he did not see Defendant actually enter or exit the building.

         The State and Defendant stipulated that, on or about April 4, 2018, Defendant was a person prohibited by Delaware law from possessing owning, or controlling a firearm and ammunition for a firearm.

         Standard of Review

         A motion for judgment of acquittal is governed by Superior Court Criminal Rule 29. The Court may enter a judgment of acquittal only if "the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction."[1] The Court considers the evidence "together with all legitimate inferences therefrom . . . from the point of view most favorable to the State."[2] The standard of review a trial judge employs on a motion for judgment of acquittal is whether any rational trier of fact, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of all the elements of the ...


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