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Jackson v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

October 8, 2019

GIGERE JACKSON, Defendant Below, Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: August 22, 2019

          Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No. 1707014544 (N)

          Before VAUGHN, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.


          Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice.

         After consideration of the brief and motion to withdraw filed by the appellant's counsel under Supreme Court Rule 26(c), the State's response, and the Superior Court record, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) On July 19, 2017, a member of the Wilmington Police Department Drug, Organized Crime, and Vice Division submitted an application for a warrant to search Gigere Jackson's residence. The affidavit of probable cause alleged facts that gave the officer probable cause to believe that there would be cocaine in the property, including that a confidential informant had made two controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Jackson outside the residence.[1] The officers who executed the warrant did not find any drugs, but in a cooler in Jackson's bedroom they found two loaded handguns, along with some mail that was addressed to Jackson.

         (2) The officers arrested Jackson and then obtained a second search warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Jackson. The results of an analysis of Jackson's DNA sample and DNA that was obtained from one of the guns indicated a very high probability that the DNA on the gun belonged to Jackson.

         (3) Following a Superior Court bench trial, Jackson was convicted of two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited ("PFBPP") and two counts of Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited ("PABPP"). The court sentenced Jackson to consecutive ten-year terms of imprisonment-the minimum mandatory sentence-for the two counts of PFBPP, followed by six months of probation. The court suspended the sentence on the PABPP charges. This is Jackson's direct appeal.

         (4) On appeal, Jackson's counsel has filed a brief and a motion to withdraw under Supreme Court Rule 26(c). Jackson's counsel asserts that, based upon a conscientious review of the record, he has concluded that the appeal is without merit. Counsel informed Jackson of the provisions of Rule 26(c) and provided him with a copy of the motion to withdraw and the accompanying brief. Counsel also informed Jackson of his right to supplement counsel's presentation. Jackson responded with points that he wanted to present for the Court's consideration, which counsel included with the Rule 26(c) brief. The State has responded to the Rule 26(c) brief and argues that the Superior Court's judgment should be affirmed.

         (5) When reviewing a motion to withdraw and an accompanying brief under Rule 26(c), this Court must be satisfied that the appellant's counsel has made a conscientious examination of the record and the law for arguable claims.[2] This Court must also conduct its own review of the record and determine "whether the appeal is indeed so frivolous that it may be decided without an adversary presentation."[3]

         (6) Jackson has enumerated fourteen issues for the Court's consideration. Many of Jackson's arguments raise claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. In general, the Court does not consider on direct appeal claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and does not do so here.[4] For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that Jackson's other claims are without merit. We therefore affirm the Superior Court's judgment.

         (7) First, Jackson argues that the search warrant was invalid because the State did not present any evidence of drugs. We understand Jackson to be arguing that the evidence of the guns should have been suppressed because they were found during a search that was conducted under a warrant that authorized the officers to search Jackson's residence for drugs, not guns. Although Jackson was represented by counsel at trial, the Superior Court allowed Jackson to address the court concerning this issue. After reviewing the warrant and hearing Jackson's concern, the court stated:

Generally, once a search warrant is issued, the police then have the authority to search anyplace within the confines of the warrant, here being the residence and your person, that may, in fact, have drug evidence.
The fact that they may not find it, but find other evidence, or other contraband, or such things, generally that is ...

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