Delaware Supreme Court upholds Dover man’s conviction in 2013 robbery, chase

DOVER — Delaware Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Dover man connected to a December 2013 robbery and ensuing vehicle pursuit by police.

Ramon Ruffin raised four claims about his case that concluded with a minimum 113-year sentence and declaration as a habitual offender.

In court documents, Ruffin alleged some evidence admitted was inadmissible hearsay, improper, suggestive eyewitness identification was presented, a request for a court instruction was errantly denied, and “he was prejudiced by cumulative error.”

Chief Justice Leon Strine considered the appeal submitted on Oct. 7, along with Justices Randy Holland and Karen Valihura.

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Ramon Ruffin

“We have concluded that all of Ruffin’s claims are without merit,” the Supreme Court wrote in its opinion on Dec. 3. “Therefore, the Superior Court’s judgment of conviction must be affirmed.”

In a jury trial Ruffin was found guilty of second-degree assault, first-degree robbery, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission or a felony, first-degree assault, two counts of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, receiving a stolen firearm, disregarding a police officer’s signal and resisting arrest.

According to papers, the matter stemmed from an incident on Dec. 9, 2013, when a man was assaulted by a gun during an attempted robbery in a parking lot.

A suspect exited the scene in a minivan which was chased by Dover Police officers before it wrecked at an Delaware Technical Community College exit onto Denneys Road in north Dover.

Authorities identified Ruffin as the driver, according to papers.

Police said Ruffin was one of two men apprehended and a semiautomatic pistol was seen on the minivan floor behind the front driver’s seat. According to authorities, the gun was found to be stolen in Richmond, Va.

The assaulted man suffered cheek bone fractures, according to court documents.

The court determined a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report regarding the purchase of a firearm from a licensed dealer was admissible as a public record.

According to the court in papers, the defense made no motion or objection regarding in-court identifications of Ruffin by two witnesses.

“Rather, six days after (witness) testimony, and four days after (witness) testimony, defense counsel for Ruffin moved for a mistrial, and conceded, ‘So we should have made that motion last week. I didn’t,’ ” the court said in papers.

In Superior Court, a judge ruled no evidence was missing based on the state’s decision not to conduct DNA testing of a seized gun.

“At issue is whether the state had a further obligation to perform the DNA testing,” the court wrote in its opinion while citing case precedents.

“ … Testing of physical evidence seized by the police is not required. The state’s affirmative duty ends with the collection and preservation of that evidence.

“Ruffin could have requested pretrial DNA testing of the seized handgun, but did not do so.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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