Wheeler v. DelawareAnnotate this Case
Defendant Christopher Wheeler petitioned the Delaware Supreme Court to overturn his conviction of Dealing in Child Pornography. He raised two issues: (1) he challenged a 2014 Superior Court denial of his Amended and Superseding Motion to Suppress, arguing that the nature of “general warrants” were overly broad in scope, and the execution of which violated his federal and State Constitutional rights; and (2) he challenged a second Superior Court denial of his motion for Judgment of Acquittal, arguing insufficient evidence to convict him because the State could not establish that he was aware of the existence of the offending images on his computer, stored in his “newsgroup cache.” Wheeler was sentenced to 50 years at Level V. Throughout these proceedings, Wheeler asserted that the State used charges of witness tampering stemming from his admission in 2013 that he had molested two brothers in Pennsylvania in the 1980’s as a pretext to search broadly for child pornography. The challenged warrants in this case were the witness tampering warrants: not the later-obtained child pornography warrant. The State admitted that the challenged witness tampering warrants were virtual copies of an off-the-shelf warrant for child pornography. Because the Supreme Court agreed that the challenged witness tampering warrants were in the nature of “general warrants” in violation of the United States and Delaware Constitutions, it reversed the judgments of the Superior Court and remanded this matter for further proceedings.