JORDAN O. HARRIS, Defendant Below, Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.
Submitted: February 8, 2019
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VAUGHN and SEITZ, Justices.
T. Vaughn, Jr. Justice.
consideration of the parties' briefs and the record on
appeal, it appears to the Court that:
defendant below-appellant, Jordan O. Harris, filed this
appeal from his convictions for Possession of a Firearm by a
Person Prohibited ("PFBPP"), Possession of Firearm
Ammunition by a Person Prohibited ("PABPP"), and
other crimes. After careful consideration of the parties'
arguments, we affirm the Superior Court's judgment.
evidence presented at trial showed that, on the night of July
26, 2016, several members of the Delaware State Police
Governor's Task Force went to the reported residence of a
probationer (not Harris) in Milford with outstanding
capiases. As the police approached, a 1988 Dodge Aries with
two people inside pulled up to the residence. Harris was the
driver. A police officer, who was wearing a tactical vest
identifying her as a State trooper, and a probation officer
approached the car and shone a flashlight inside to determine
if one of the occupants was the probationer. The passenger
looked back and then the car pulled way. The police officer
switched the flashlight to strobe, but the car continued to
drive away. The police officers, who were in three vehicles,
activated their lights and sirens and followed the car.
the police followed, the car sped up, ran a stop sign, failed
to signal as it turned onto Church Street, and veered from
side to side. Detective Christopher Donaldson, who had a
police dog with him, saw Harris was reaching into the back
seat with his right hand and rummaging around. Detective
Donaldson suspected that Harris might be preparing to throw
something out of the car. The car turned left, without
signaling, onto a gravel road between two cornfields. After
Detective Donaldson hit the car, it came to a stop.
Detective Donaldson and another officer approached the car
with their guns raised and demanded that the occupants raise
their hands. Both occupants initially raised their hands, but
then Harris put his hands down and refused to raise them
after being ordered to do so. Unable to see Harris' hands
and fearing that he had a weapon, Detective Donaldson
directed the police dog to apprehend Harris by biting him.
Harris held onto the steering wheel and still refused to exit
the car. Detective Donaldson pulled him out of the car, but
Harris still refused to show his hands. Once Detective
Donaldson could see both of Harris' hands and had subdued
him, he ordered the police dog to release Harris.
After Detective Donaldson read Harris his Miranda
rights, he was taken to the hospital for treatment of his dog
bite wounds. The police officer who accompanied Harris to the
hospital noticed that Harris was swaying at the scene,
smelled of alcohol, and had glassy, bloodshot eyes. Harris
could not recite the alphabet correctly and would not count
backwards. The police officer obtained a search warrant for a
blood sample. Harris' blood alcohol level was .06 and his
blood tested positive for marijuana.
police searched the path of the car chase and found a loaded
.40 caliber black handgun. The police were unable to recover
any fingerprints from the gun, but they did collect DNA. The
swab from the handgun trigger contained DNA that was
consistent with Harris' DNA. Harris was charged with
PFBPP, PABPP, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Conspiracy in
the Second Degree, Resisting Arrest, Driving a Vehicle While
Under the Influence of Drugs, Driving Without a License,
Fictitious of Cancelled Registration, Operation of an
Unregistered Motor Vehicle, Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign,
Stopping or Suddenly Decreasing Speed
Without Giving a Proper Signal, Inattentive Driving, and two
counts of No Turn Signal.
Before jury deliberations, the State dismissed the Conspiracy
in the Second Degree, No Valid License, and Operation of an
Unregistered Motor Vehicle charges. The jury found Harris
guilty of all the remaining charges, except Tampering with
Physical Evidence, Fictitious or Cancelled Registration, and
Stopping or Suddenly Decreasing Speed Without Giving a Proper
Signal. The Superior Court sentenced Harris to 25 years of
Level V incarceration, suspended after 7 years for decreasing
levels of supervision. This appeal followed. On appeal,
Harris exercised his right to represent himself.
Harris argues that: (i) the flight, constructive possession,
and unanimous verdict jury instructions as well as the
stipulation that he was a person prohibited were confusing,
speculative, and prejudicial; (ii) the Superior Court erred
by failing to hold a hearing on a juror's admission that
he ignored the admonition not to talk to anyone about the
case during the trial; (iii) the Superior Court erred by
allowing the admission of the wrong gun into evidence; (iv)
the State concealed and tampered with evidence in violation
of Brady v. Maryland; (v) he was deprived of materials
that he needed for this ...