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Swiggett v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 5, 2019

DARRIN SWIGGETT, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: August 5, 2019

          Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID: K1603006458

          Before VALIHURA, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.

          ORDER

          Gary F. Traynor Justice.

         (1) In August 2016, Darrin Swiggett pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance, and the Superior Court sentenced him to 25 years of Level V imprisonment, suspended after two years for one year of Level III probation.[1]

         (2) On June 6, 2018, while Swiggett was serving his year of probation, three Delaware Probation and Parole officers went to Swiggett's three-bedroom apartment at 255 Webbs Lane for a home visit. One of the officers observed a man, Michael Collier, standing on Swiggett's balcony and tossing an object into a trash can. Another officer went to the balcony and retrieved a package of 104 bags of heroin from that trash can. The officers then searched the rest of the apartment. In Swiggett's bedroom closet, police found a men's leather jacket with 20 grams of cocaine and $520 cash inside, a women's jacket with 7 grams of marijuana inside, and a digital scale.

         (3) The State charged Swiggett with six criminal charges and initiated violation-of-probation proceedings. The violation-of-probation proceedings were stayed pending the resolution of the criminal charges. On Swiggett's motion, the Superior Court entered judgments of acquittal on all six charges.

         (4) With the criminal case concluded, the Superior Court held a contested violation-of-probation hearing on March 14, 2019. The only condition of probation that Swiggett was alleged to have violated was the condition prohibiting him from committing a new criminal offense.

         (5) After hearing the parties' presentations, the court found Swiggett in violation of his probation, ruling that "the probationer is not to reside in a residence for [sic] which contraband is found, [and] that is a violation."[2] The court revoked Swiggett's probation and resentenced him to 23 years of Level V imprisonment, suspended for time served, followed by one year of Level IV work release, followed by one year of Level III probation.

         (6) Swiggett appeals his revocation of probation to us on the basis that not residing in a residence in which contraband is found was not a condition of his probation. The State concedes error and requests that we reverse the Superior Court's violation-of-probation finding.

         (7) Given that the State agrees with Swiggett, concedes error, and advances no alternative grounds for affirmance, we reverse the revocation of Swiggett's probation.

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the Superior Court is REVERSED, and this matter is REMANDED with instructions to set aside the March 14, 2019 Violation of Probation Order. The mandate shall issue forthwith.

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