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Harris v. State

806 A.2d 119 (2002)

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Harris v. State

Delaware Supreme Court

806 A.2d 119 (2002)

Facts

Uriel Harris (defendant) took a train from Philadelphia to Wilmington, arriving in the afternoon. Harris had planned to meet a friend, Dale Green, who had agreed to drive Harris to Aberdeen, Maryland. Harris had never been to the Wilmington train station before and did not know where to meet Green. Wilmington police officer Liam Sullivan, wearing plain clothes, stood on the train-station platform looking for drug couriers on incoming trains from New York City. Sullivan observed Harris carrying a backpack and look over his shoulder three times. Sullivan followed Harris to the station lobby, where Sullivan observed Harris talking on a payphone and to another man, who turned out to be Green. Sullivan radioed to another officer sitting in an unmarked car parked behind a Ford Tempo with Maryland tags and a woman sitting in the driver’s seat. The other officer observed Harris appear in the Tempo’s backseat and look out the back window as the Tempo left the train station. Sullivan radioed to Delaware state police to assist in stopping the Tempo. After the stop, Harris, Green, and the driver all denied ownership of the backpack that Sullivan had observed Harris carrying. Sullivan searched the bag as abandoned property, discovered over 200 grams of cocaine, and arrested Harris. The state (plaintiff) charged Harris. Harris moved to suppress the cocaine. The trial court denied the motion and convicted Harris. Harris appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Veasey, C.J.)

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