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State v. Barrett

Superior Court of Delaware

October 11, 2019

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
KYLE BARRETT, Defendant.

         On Defendant Kyle Barrett's Motion to Suppress Denied.

          Zachary Rosen, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State of Delaware.

          Christina L. Ruggiero, Assistant Public Defender, Office of Defense Services, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant Kyle Barrett.

          ORDER

          THE HONORABLE CALVIN L. SCOTT, JR.

         Introduction

         Before the Court is Defendant Kyle Barrett's ("Defendant") Motion to Suppress. Therein, Defendant challenges the warrantless search of his vehicle as having violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, § 6 of the Delaware Constitution. The Court has reviewed and considered the Parties' written submissions, as well as evidence provided and arguments made by the Parties at the suppression hearing. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Suppress is DENIED.

         Findings of Fact

         On November 13, 2018, Detective Matthew Donovan of the New Castle County Police Department was patrolling the Four Seasons Community in New Castle County, Delaware. Detective Donovan observed an SUV idling on the side of the road with a woman in the passenger seat. A man, later identified as Defendant Kyle Barrett, was leaning into this vehicle on the passenger side. Detective Donovan conducted a DELJIS inquiry of the vehicle's registration and determined that the registration was suspended for a lack of insurance payments and was also expired.

         After Detective Donovan passed the vehicle, Defendant entered the driver seat of the vehicle and began driving. Defendant pulled the vehicle into a parking spot in front of 31 Sunny Bend. Defendant and his passenger, Ms. Jefferson, exited the vehicle and began to walk away from the vehicle. Because Detective Donovan had passed the vehicle while it was idling, Detective Donovan needed to do a U-turn in order to initiate a traffic stop. Accordingly, Detective Donovan did not initiate the traffic stop until the vehicle was parked.

         Detective Donovan instructed Defendant and Ms. Jefferson to "stop" and return to the vehicle. Ms. Jefferson complied with Detective Donovan's instructions, but Defendant did not. Defendant continued walking away from the vehicle and Detective Donovan. In response to Detective Donovan's requests for Defendant to stop walking away and return to the vehicle, Defendant replied: "No. For what?" Defendant physically resisted arrest once Detective Donovan caught up with him. Detective Donovan had to use force on Defendant to effectuate the arrest. Detective Donovan handcuffed Defendant and placed him in the back of the police car.

         One of the responding officers searched Ms. Jefferson. The officer found several empty heroin bags in Ms. Jefferson's bra. The bags were stamped "www.nocap." Although Detective Donovan testified that there were additional heroin bags strewn about the ground around and underneath the vehicle, bodycam footage of the incident shows more syringes than bags around and underneath the vehicle. This paraphernalia was not observed prior to the traffic stop. Ms. Jefferson told the police officers there was a large quantity of heroin in the vehicle.

         After obtaining this information, the responding officers searched the vehicle. From this search, the officers recovered additional bags of heroin and crystal methamphetamine.

         Parties' Contentions

         On September 18, 2019, Defendant filed his Motion to Suppress, arguing that the warrantless search of the vehicle violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, § 6 of the Delaware Constitution. Defendant argues that the police did not have probable cause to search the vehicle. ...


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