DE: Consent to search can’t be proved “entirely upon hearsay”

Hearsay that defendant consented, in testimony from an officer who was not present, was insufficient to show consent. Even if it could, the hearsay didn’t satisfy the standards of showing voluntariness. Then, the search of his person being invalid, the search incident of his backpack was also invalid. State v. Hopkins, 2016 Del. Super. LEXIS 590 (Nov. 26, 2016):

Strict rules of evidence do not apply in a suppression motion. However, the State’s burden cannot be predicated entirely upon hearsay. Namely, in the different but analogous context of probable cause, “[h]earsay information may form the basis of probable cause if sufficiently corroborated by other facts within the officer’s direct knowledge.”7 The Court “may not accept a police officer’s conclusion that probable cause for arrest exists without opportunity to examine in detail the grounds upon the basis of which he reached that conclusion.”8 Since consent is also an exception to the warrant requirement, it likewise cannot be based solely on an officer’s conclusory statement without corroborating detail.

7. State v. Holmes, 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 462, 2015 WL 5168374, at *8 (Del. Super. Sept. 3, 2015) (emphasis in original) (citations omitted)

8. Garner v. State, 314 A.2d 908, 913 (Del. 1973).

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