Luttrell v. State

In Luttrell v. State, 97 A.3d 70 (Del. 2014) the Supreme Court examined the trial court's decision after it denied a motion filed by the defendant for a bill of particulars. In that case, the Defendants allege indictment failed to inform the defendant of the specific elements of the alleged crime charged and failed to put defendant on notice so he could prepare a defense. The defendant moved to dismiss or in the alternative, a motion for a bill of particulars to remedy this error. The Supreme Court noted several critical factors in its analysis: a bill of particulars protects defendants by informing them of the facts of the charges and guards against the risk of being prosecuted again under those facts; defendants have an affirmative obligation to request a bill of particulars when they do not know the specifics of what they are being charged with. (Luttrell, 97 A.3d at 76.) In analyzing that case, the Supreme Court discussed Dobson v. State, which found the Information defective because it charged without specificity some of the crimes in the complaint, and thus the defendant could not know which remaining acts had not been tried. In Luttrell, the Supreme Court specifically noted that the defective indictment was flawed in that it left gaps as to which act aligned with which charge.