Submitted: October 1, 2019
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No.
SEITZ, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and TRAYNOR, Justices.
F. TRAYNOR, JUSTICE
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 record on appeal, it
appears to the Court that:
evidence at trial reflected that on September 5, 2016, Chicka
Wilks attended a social gathering at her cousin's house.
At the event, she asked the appellant, Curtis Miller, to
repay $20 she had previously loaned to him. Wilks and Miller
argued, and Miller spat on Wilks and slapped her face with
some money. Wilks left the party and reported the incident to
Officer Akil of the Wilmington Police Department. She then
returned to the party. After her return, an argument arose
between Miller and Wilks's cousin concerning the $20
loan, and Miller punched Wilks in the face. Wilks left the
party again to report the second incident to the police.
Wilks requested medical care, and Officer Akil called for an
ambulance. Officer Akil followed the ambulance to the
hospital and met Wilks there to gather information about the
Officer Akil was preparing to leave the hospital late that
evening after speaking with Wilks, a member of the hospital
staff reported to him that another assault victim had
arrived. Officer Akil went to investigate, and identified the
victim as Kelvin Bush, whom the officer recognized from his
patrol area. Bush was heavily intoxicated and had sustained
significant injuries to his face, including a broken jaw that
had to be wired shut for approximately two weeks. When
Officer Akil asked Bush who had inflicted these injuries,
Bush stated that he and Curtis Miller had been joking around
when it turned physical. Officer Akil then indicated that he
would be seeking a warrant for Miller's arrest, and Bush
immediately recanted, saying that "Curtis wouldn't
have done this to me, that's my boy. He wouldn't do
that to me."
Bush appeared at trial under a material witness warrant; he
testified that he could not remember anything about the night
of September 5, including how he sustained the injuries or
speaking to Officer Akil. He stated that he was highly
intoxicated that evening and did not recall anything that
occurred before he woke up in the hospital the next day.
Wilks testified that she saw Bush at the party; Bush
testified that he did not see Wilks on September 5.
Bush's sister testified that Miller, Wilks, and Bush were
at the party; that they argued over $20 and spat at each
other; that Miller punched Wilks in the face; and that Miller
hit Bush repeatedly in the face until he was unconscious.
Miller's fiancée, who was also Wilks's cousin,
testified that she attended the party and that Bush and his
sister were not there. She further testified that Miller and
Wilks did not interact at the party, but that Wilks was
involved in a big fight that broke out outside the residence,
and Miller attempted to break up the fight.
Superior Court jury found Miller guilty of Assault in the
Second Degree for assaulting Bush and guilty of Assault in
the Third Degree for assaulting Wilks. The Superior Court
sentenced Miller as follows: for Assault in the Second
Degree, as a habitual offender, to thirteen years of
imprisonment, suspended after eight years for two years of
probation; and for Assault in the Third Degree, to one year
of imprisonment, suspended for one year of probation. Miller
has appealed to this Court.
Miller's counsel has filed a brief and a motion to
withdraw under Supreme Court Rule 26(c). Miller's counsel
asserts that, based upon a conscientious review of the record
and the law, the appeal is wholly without merit. In his
statement filed under Rule 26(c), counsel indicates that he
informed Miller 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 Miller of his right
to submit points he wanted this Court to consider on appeal.
Miller has not submitted any points for the Court's
consideration. The State has responded to the Rule 26(c)
brief and argues that the Superior Court's judgment
should be affirmed.
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. 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
Court has reviewed the record carefully and concluded that
the appeal is wholly without merit and devoid of any arguably
appealable issue. We also are satisfied that counsel made a
conscientious effort to examine the record and the law and
properly determined that Miller could not raise a meritorious
claim on appeal.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the Superior
Court is ...