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Ogden v. State

Superior Court of Delaware

July 5, 2019

REGAN M. OGDEN, Appellant/Plaintiff Below,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Appellee/Defendant Below

          Date Submitted: April 24, 2019

         Upon Consideration of Plaintiff's Appeal From the Court of Common Pleas. Affirmed.

          Regan M. Ogden, Jr., SBI #00284356, S.C.I., Pro Se Appellant.

          Caroline C. Brittingham, Esq., Department of Justice, Attorney for Appellee.

          OPINION

          STOKES, R.J.

         I. Introduction

         Presently before the Court is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Delaware brought by Regan M. Ogden, Jr. ("Appellant"). On July 23, 2018, Appellant filed a Petition for Restoration of Driving Privileges pursuant to 21 Del. C § 2809.[1] The State opposed the Petition as premature and on September 10, 2018, an Order was issued by the Court of Common Pleas denying and dismissing Appellant's Petition as premature. On September 24, 2018, Appellant filed his appeal with this Court. Appellant seeks to reverse the Court of Common Pleas' decision denying Appellant's petition for restoration of driving privileges under the habitual offender driving restriction. The State of Delaware ("the State" or "Appellee") opposes Appellant's appeal. The Court AFFIRMS the Court of Common Pleas' decision for the reasons discussed below.

         II. Facts

         On August 25, 2003, Appellant was declared a habitual offender pursuant to 21 Del. C. § 2802, [2] and his license was suspended for a period of five years. On February 24, 2009, Appellant committed vehicular homicide during the period he was prohibited from driving because of his habitual offender designation.[3] He killed two people and injured ten people in the incident. Appellant's release date from prison for this offense is February 16, 2022.[4] Appellant has not committed any driving offenses in the past nine years, but he has been incarcerated for the entirety of that time.[5] Appellant has not paid his financial obligations because he cannot afford to pay them while he is in prison. He contends that he will set up a payment plan upon his release.[6] Furthermore, Appellant has written apology letters to the surviving victims of the crash dating back to the year 2009. Finally, Appellant has successfully completed the six month long Victim's Impact Program at Sussex Correctional Institution.

         The Court of Common Pleas denied Appellant's petition for restoration of his driving privileges on September 10, 2018. The Court of Common Pleas reasoned that Appellant's petition was premature and denied the petition on that ground. The Court of Common Pleas also stated that Appellant may re-file the petition at a date closer to his release from the Department of Corrections. At Appellant's hearing on his petition the Court of Common Pleas suggested that Appellant file his Petition for Restoration of Driving Privileges closer to the time of his release date in three years.

         III. Standard of Review

         When considering an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, this Court sits as an intermediate appellate court.[7] The Court's appellate role is limited to correcting legal error and determining whether factual findings "are sufficiently supported by the record and are the product of an orderly and logical deductive process."[8]

         IV. Discussion

         Appellant contends that he has met all of the requirements of 21 Del. C. § 2809[9] and his driving privileges should therefore be restored. Specifically, Appellant contends that he has (1) met the time limitation of the statute; (2) met his financial responsibilities because he has shown responsibility for his financial requirements to the State by communicating with the Court Collections Enforcement supervisor; and (3) that his current incarceration has no legal bearing [sic] in restoration of his driving privileges.

         Despite Appellant's contentions, the statutory langue of 21 Del C. § 2809 is mandatory and not permissive. Conditions (1) (2) and (3) of 21 Del. C. § 2809 all must be met in order for Appellant's driving privileges to be restored.[10] Despite meeting the time requirement of 21 Del C. § 2809(1) Appellant clearly has not met the requirement set forth in 21 Del. C. ยง 2809(2), which states that Appellant's driving privileges shall not be restored, "[u]ntil such time as financial responsibility requirements have been met." The Court of Common Pleas has held that financial responsibilities have been met when financial obligations have been paid ...


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