Appeal from a Decision of the Court of Common Pleas.
Honorable Calvin L. Scott, Jr. Judge.
the Court is an appeal from a criminal trial in the Court of
Common Pleas on September 1, 2016. The Court has reviewed the
parties' submissions and the record below. For the
reasons that follow, the Court of Common Pleas decision is
8, 2016 Wilmington Police arrested Appellant, Defendant
Below, Carlos Arzuaga ("Appellant") related to an
incident that occurred on July 1, 2016. On July 1, 2016 the
Appellant had an altercation with Jessica Rosado ("Ms.
Rosado"), the mother of his children. On July 1, 2016
Appellant went to Ms. Rosdao's parents house to pick up
his children Carlos Arzuaga, Jr. and Xavier Arzuaga. The boys
did not want to leave with their father and there was an
altercation. Appellant eventually left, and Ms. Rosado and
her children went to the Wilmington Flea Market. Ms. Rosado
and Carlos Arzuaga Jr. testified that when they left the
market in Ms. Rosado's vehicle the Appellant followed Ms.
Rosado in his vehicle. Ms. Rosado testified that he attempted
to run her off the road and was within inches of her vehicle.
Appellant was charged with three counts of Reckless
Endangering 2nd Degree, two counts of Endangering
the Welfare of a Child, and one count of Harassment.
Appellant's case went to trial in the Court of Common
Pleas on September 1, 2016. The Court of Common Pleas found
Appellant guilty of three counts of Reckless Endangering
2nd Degree. Appellant was sentenced on November
18, 2016 and filed this appeal on November 22, 2016.
Court has authority to review decisions made by the Court of
Common Pleas pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 5301(c).
This Court will not determine the credibility of the
witnesses, make factual findings or weigh
evidence. Appeals to this Court from the Court
of Common Pleas requires the Court to review "whether
there is legal error and whether the factual findings made by
the trial judge are sufficiently supported by the record and
the product of an orderly and deductive
process.""Factual findings that are
substantially supported by evidence must be accepted, even if
this Court would have reached a different
conclusion." "In reaching its conclusions, the
Superior Court may make findings of fact that contradict
those of the trial judge only when the record below indicates
that the trial judge's findings are 'clearly
wrong' and this Court 'is convinced that a mistake
has been made which, injustice, must be
Defendant argues that Carlos Arzuaga, Jr. was only asked
questions that were "practiced and coached" by Ms.
Rosado. There is no evidence before the Court to demonstrate
that witness coaching existed at the trial. In fact, the
court found both Carlos Arzuaga, Jr. and Ms. Rosado's
testimony very credible. Second, Defendant argues that Carlos
Arzuaga, Jr. was asked only leading questions on direct
examination. "Leading questions should not be used on
direct examination of a witness except as may be
necessary to develop his testimony." The court
looks to whether the leading questions "undermined
'the fairness and integrity of the trial
process'." Defendant does not point to a specific
portion of Carlos Arzuaga, Jr.'s testimony demonstrating
that any leading questions asked by the prosecution
undermined the fairness and integrity of the trial process.
Additionally, there was no objection at the trial. Thus the
Court will not reverse the Court of Common Pleas'
decision on this ground.
Defendant argues that "the verdict given was all based
on opinion and speculation provided by testimony of Carlos
Arzuaga, Jr. and Jessica Rosado, " and there "was
no physical evidence provided to substantiate any
guilt." There is no requirement that guilt must be
demonstrated by physical evidence at a trial.
Further, as discussed above, this Court may only make
findings of fact different from the trial judge when the
judge's findings are clearly wrong. The trial judge made
a well-reasoned bench ruling and was free to give weight to
the witnesses' testimony as he saw fit. The judge found
Carlos Arzuaga, Jr.'s testimony to be very persuasive and
credible, and the judge gave his testimony great weight. The
trial judge also found that Ms. Rosado's testimony was
"amazingly consistent" with her child. The trial
judge found that the altercation between Ms. Rosado and
Appellant resulted in Appellant's vehicle coming within
two or three inches of her car, and the court believed it
happened about four times.
individual is guilty of reckless endangering in the second
degree when the "person recklessly engages in conduct
which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to
another person." The trial judge found that Appellant
causing Ms. Rosado to speed, run red lights, and block her
driving is conduct that would create a substantial risk of
physical injury to Ms. Rosado and the children in the
vehicle. The factual findings of the Court of Common Pleas
are supported by the record and are the product of an orderly
and logical deductive process. Therefore, the decision by the
Court of Common Pleas is AFFIRMED.
Counsel's Motion to Withdraw is now moot.
IS SO ORDERED.