Convict’s appeal denied by Supreme Court

GEORGETOWN — An inmate’s appeal of a sixth violation of probation charge reached the Delaware Supreme Court in August and was denied Wednesday.

Wardell Giles maintained a penalty for allegedly touching a female prisoner inappropriately at Sussex Community Corrections Center last year was unjust, based on inadmissible and insufficient evidence.

In a seven-page order, however, Chief Justice Leo Strine pointed to a video recording of the Aug. 25, 2016, incident along with Giles’ admission of exchanging letters with the woman in a prohibited manner, among other valid evidence against him.

“Consequently, even assuming that the prosecution relied in error on the Work Release Center rules and regulation to support its case against Giles, the record reflects the existence of other competent evidence that was sufficient to revoke Giles probation,” Judge Strine reasoned.

According to facts of the case, Giles was working in the prison’s kitchen crew at the Work Release Center when allegedly seen reaching through a window and grabbing the wrist of a female inmate. A correctional officer responded immediately and identified Giles as the alleged culprit, the order said, though the inmate denied touching the woman.

Giles was terminated from the kitchen crew and charges with three probation violations — lying to staff, termination of employment and inappropriate touching of the opposite sex.

After a hearing by the SCCC VOP Center Multi-Disciplinary Team on Aug. 30, 2016, a recommendation that Giles return to a higher level of security and violation of probation charge was made.

At a contested VOP hearing on Oct. 14, 2016, Giles testified he and the female inmate “were friends and frequently kited letters to each other.

“According to Giles, he would pass letters to (her) at dinner between slices of bread, and (she) would pass letters to him at breakfast when returning her food tray,” according to the opinion.

The contact occurred when the inmate passed her letter to Giles as she was returning her tray, he maintained.

On Dec. 9, 2016, Giles was sentenced to one year and eight days of Level V maximum incarceration suspended after six months for Level IV home confinement or work release. He then appealed the ruling that was denied this week.

Giles pled guilty to second-degree robbery in 2007.

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