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State v. Sharon H.

Superior Court of Delaware
429 A.2d 1321 (Del. Super. 1981)


Sharon H. (defendant) married her half-brother by blood, Dennis H. (defendant). The defendants were born to the same mother but had different fathers. Sharon was adopted as an infant, while Dennis grew up in various state-run programs. The defendants were arrested for violating a state law that prohibited marriage between relatives, including marriage between a brother and sister related by blood. At trial, Sharon argued that, pursuant to state law, her adoption had eliminated any tie between her and Dennis as a matter of law. Additionally, Sharon claimed that the state’s adoption statutes prevented any inquiry into the circumstances surrounding her adoption, because the adoption documents were sealed. The trial court agreed and dismissed the charges. The state appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stiftel, C.J.)

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