SUBMITTED: May 9, 2019
Caroline C. Brittingham, Esquire
Heather Lingo, Esquire
SCOTT BRADLEY JUDGE
before the Court is an appeal which the State of Delaware
("the State") has filed from a decision of the
Court of Common Pleas ("CCP") dismissing the case
against Bartholomew Hicks ("defendant"). This is my
decision affirming the judgment of CCP.
information set forth below is contained in the record from
CCP. In their briefing on this appeal, both sides have
submitted information that was not a part of the record
before the trial court. The Court ignores that information
and considers only information in the record which was
available to the trial court when the decision to dismiss was
Defendant was charged with leaving the scene of an accident
after a collision which involved property damage, driving
while suspended or revoked, failing to provide to the owner
of the damaged property appropriate identifying information,
following a motor vehicle too closely, and failing to report
to the police a collision resulting in property damage in the
amount of $500.00 or more. These offenses allegedly occurred
on or about July 17, 2018. Defendant was arrested on these
charges on or about September 17, 2018.
October 10, 2018, Heather Lingo, Esquire's office entered
her name into the docket on defendant's behalf so that
her appearance would be on all calendars going forward. On
October 10, 2018, Ms. Lingo filed discovery requests with CCP
and also served discovery requests on the State. Ms. Lingo
also appeared on defendant's behalf at his October 15,
before the trial, Ms. Lingo confirmed with the CCP
Clerk's Office that CCP's court file contained a copy
of the discovery requests. Although the discovery requests
were in the Court's file, they had not been docketed. In
fact, the Clerk's office did not docket Ms. Lingo's
appearance and discovery requests until November 29,
State checked CCP's docket on October 23, 2018. At that
time, for the reason explained above, neither Ms. Lingo's
entry of appearance nor the discovery requests were on the
docket. The State did not have the entry of appearance or
discovery requests in its file.
State never responded to defendant's discovery requests.
day of trial, December 3, 2018, defendant's attorney made
an application for violation of discovery. Although she did
not specify the sanction she was seeking, a review of her
argument regarding prejudice to defendant leads to the
conclusion she was seeking a dismissal of the case.
The following exchanges occurred regarding the matter:
[THE STATE]: Your Honor, we do not have a copy in our file.
I'm not saying we didn't receive it
but we do rely on the court's docket, and according to
the court's docket defendant was unrepresented (emphasis
THE COURT: Why would you not open up the file rather than
doing that? You got this October the 10th.
[THE STATE]: I don't have it in my file, Your Honor, and
it was not on the court's docket until November
29th. So when you pull it up, the docket,
that's what we rely on, it did not show the docket.
THE COURT: You can't just rely on that.
[THE STATE]: I understand, Your Honor. It's also my
understanding that Ms. Lingo may have emailed ...