Franks v. State

Decision Date29 April 1977
Citation373 A.2d 578
PartiesJerome FRANKS, Defendant Below, Appellant, v. STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.
CourtSupreme Court of Delaware

Upon appeal from Superior Court. Affirmed.

Donald W. Huntley, Asst. Public Defender, Wilmington, for defendant below, appellant.

Harrison F. Turner, Deputy Atty. Gen., Dover, for plaintiff below, appellee.

Before HERRMANN, C.J., and DUFFY and McNEILLY, JJ.

McNEILLY, Justice:

Defendant appeals his conviction by a Superior Court jury of first degree rape, 11 Del.C. § 764, 1 second degree kidnapping, 11 Del.C. § 783, 2 and first degree burglary, 11 Del.C. § 826, 3 contending that the Trial Court erred in refusing to hear impeachment testimony at a suppression hearing. We disagree.


According to the victim, she was confronted in her home, at about 5:00 a.m., by a knife-wielding assailant who forced her to perform multiple acts of sexual intercourse with him. The victim later described to the police the clothing worn by the assailant and identified defendant as the assailant.

A search warrant was obtained by the police and used to seize articles of defendant's clothing and a knife, which were introduced at trial over defendant's objection. The Trial Court refused to hear evidence offered at the suppression hearing to impeach the averments of the affidavit used to establish probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant.

At trial, defendant did not deny that he had had intercourse with the victim, asserting the defense of consent.


Defendant contends that the Trial Court erred in refusing to hear testimony at the suppression hearing which would have impeached the affidavit establishing probable cause for the search warrant; that this violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement that no search warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation. There is no attack upon the validity of the warrant on its face, and the United States Supreme Court has left open the extent to which a supporting affidavit may be challenged for accuracy. Rugendorf v. United States, 376 U.S. 528, 531--32, 84 S.Ct. 825, 827--28, 11 L.Ed.2d 887, 891 (1964). The majority of the jurisdictions considering this question have decided that no attack upon the veracity of an underlying affidavit may be made. See 68 Am.Jur.2d Searches and Seizures § 66 (1973). We agree with the majority rule for two reasons. First, it is the function of the issuing magistrate to determine the reliability of information and credibility of affiants in deciding whether the requirement of probable cause has been met. There has been no need demonstrated for interfering with this function. Second, neither the probable cause nor suppression hearings are adjudications of guilt or innocence; the matters asserted by defendant are more properly considered in a trial on the merits. See State v. Petillo, 61 N.J. 165, 293 A.2d 649 (1972), cert. denied, 410 U.S. 945, 93 S.Ct. 1393, 35 L.Ed.2d 611 (1973); Carter v. State, 274 Md. 411, 337 A.2d 415 (1975).

Because of the resolution of this issue there is no need to consider defendant's other contentions, relating to the evidence that would have been introduced for impeachment purposes.


1 11 Del.C. § 764 provides:

'A male is guilty of rape in the first degree when he intentionally engages in sexual intercourse with a female without her consent, and

'(1) In the course of the offense he inflicts serious physical, mental or emotional injury upon the victim, or

'(2) The victim was not the defendant's voluntary social companion on the occasion of the crime and had not previously permitted him sexual contact.'

'Rape in the first degree is a class A felony.'

2 11 Del.C. § 783 provide...

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11 cases
  • Com. v. Reynolds
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • December 30, 1977
    ...Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949).3 The Court may face the question in reviewing Franks v. State, 373 A.2d 578 (Del.), cert. granted, --- U.S. ----, 98 S.Ct. 261, 54 L.Ed.2d 174 (1977).4 See United States v. Collins, 549 F.2d 557 (8th Cir.), cert. ......
  • Franks v. Delaware
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1978
    ...of the search excluded from the trial to the same extent as if probable cause was lacking on the face of the affidavit. Pp. 155-156. 373 A.2d 578, reversed and Argued by Donald W. Huntley, Wilmington, Del., for petitioner. Harrison F. Turner, Smyrna, Del., for respondent. Mr. Justice BLACKM......
  • United States v. Daoud
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • June 16, 2014
    ...of probable cause has been met” and that “[t]here has been no need demonstrated for interfering with this function.” Franks v. State, 373 A.2d 578, 580 (Del.1977), rev'd,438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978). The United States Supreme Court resolved the conflict in favor of per......
  • Com. v. Nine Hundred and Ninety-Two Dollars, NINETY-TWO
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1981
    ...made in an affidavit supporting the warrant. The Supreme Court of Delaware had answered the question in the negative. Franks v. State, 373 A.2d 578 (Del.1977). The Supreme Court disagreed. "We reverse, and we hold that, where the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a fals......
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