One McGuiness misdemeanor conviction upheld, another reversed

By Daily State News
Posted 2/13/24

WILMINGTON — The Delaware Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a misdemeanor conviction of ex state auditor Kathleen McGuiness and remanded a second to Superior Court.

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One McGuiness misdemeanor conviction upheld, another reversed


WILMINGTON — The Delaware Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a misdemeanor conviction of former state auditor Kathleen McGuiness and upheld a second.

An official misconduct conviction from the 2022 trial was overturned and sent to Superior Court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” Supreme Court Justice Abigail LeGrow wrote.

A conflict of interest conviction was upheld, according to the Supreme Court.

Ms. McGuiness was found guilty of the two charges in a jury trial that concluded on July 1, 2022, in the Kent County Courthouse.

Regarding an appeal of the jury’s findings, Ms. McGuiness argued that “‘the trial that led to the convictions was profoundly unfair and unconstitutional.’

“Notwithstanding the defendant’s inflamed rhetoric, the record amply demonstrates that she received a fair trial,” the Court said.

As to the dropped official misconduct conviction, the Court concluded “that one of the defendant’s convictions must be reversed because the legal insufficiency of one of the charges (structuring: non-compliance with procurement law) resulted in the spillover of evidence that prejudiced the jury’s consideration of a closely linked charge.

“We therefore reverse the defendant’s conviction for official misconduct. In all other respects, we affirm the trial court’s decisions and the defendant’s convictions,” the Court ruled.

After the Court’s decision was released, Delaware Attorney Kathy Jennings issued a statement that read:

“We took on this case, and created the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust, because of one basic principle: nobody should be above the law or beneath justice. Today’s ruling vindicates that principle.

“After more than two years of endless litigation and theatrical rhetoric, the bottom line is that a jury, a Superior Court judge, and now the Delaware Supreme Court have all concluded that the ex-Auditor’s actions were criminal.

“I am grateful for the Court’s judgment; I am proud of our trial and appeals teams’ work; and above all else, I am inspired by the courage of the whistleblowers who came forward to seek justice.”

On Wednesday, Ms. McGuiness’ attorney Steve Wood issued a statement that said “Obviously, we are disappointed by the decision but we respect it.

“We are grateful that we had an opportunity to fully present our arguments to the Court.”

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