EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Project DNA: Delaware

Delaware

The pertinent portion of Delaware's postconviction DNA testing statute, Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 4504(a)(3), provides in relevant part that:

[A] motion may be granted if:....

(3) The movant presents a prima facie case that identity was an issue in the trial.

So, where does that leave pleading defendants?

Pursuant to a plea agreement, William Wooten pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree kidnapping and murder. After being given a life sentence, Wooten moved for postconviction DNA testing. The Superior Court denied his motion under Delaware’s postconviction statute, which only allows for DNA testing if the defendant “presents a prima facie case that identity was an issue in the trial.” While Wooten was appealing this decision to the Supreme Court of Delaware, he died. That court then found that Wooten’s appeal was moot, concluding that “[g]iven the frequency of guilty pleas in the Superior Court, the issue on appeal clearly is capable of repetition and, therefore, opportunities will exist to review that issue at some future time.” The appellate courts in Delaware, however, have not subsequently addressed this issue.

Therefore, until the Supreme Court of Delaware rules otherwise, it appears that pleading Delaware defendants cannot seek postconviction DNA testing.

-CM

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2018/07/delaware-the-pertinent-portion-of-delawares-postconviction-dna-testing-statute-del-code-ann-tit-11-4504a3-provi.html

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Comments

In relation to Adnan's case - there is a matter currently under trial in Australia and this is a quote from a reporter attending in relation to evidence given:- "An Optus technician confirmed that the day Karen vanished, her's and Borce's phones pinged to towers along the Calder Freeway in the direction toward the spot where her body was eventually found dumped.
However, under cross-examination, he agreed a tower signal could connect with a phone that was 30 to 50 kilometres away." I just wanted to let you know in case it was of any benefit.

Posted by: Jennifer Newman | Jul 26, 2018 5:02:46 PM

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