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Galindez v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

October 14, 2019

IVAN GALINDEZ, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: August 21, 2019

          Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID. No. 1712008053

          Before STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.

          ORDER

          JAMES T. VAUGHN, JR. JUSTICE.

         This 14th day of October 2019, upon consideration of the briefs of the parties and the record of the case, it appears that.

         1. The appellant, Ivan Galindez, appeals from a Superior Court jury verdict finding him guilty of Robbery in the First Degree, Assault in the First Degree, two counts of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, and Criminal Mischief. He makes two claims on appeal. First, he contends that the Superior Court abused its discretion by declining to give an eyewitness identification instruction in the form he requested. Second, he contends that the prosecutor improperly vouched for an eyewitness's credibility in his closing argument. We reject Galindez's contentions and affirm.

          2. On December 12, 2017, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Jorge Luis Franco Martinez was returning to his parked vehicle when a man approached him and asked for money. When Franco Martinez said he did not have any money, the man hit him in the face and head with a metal object (possibly brass knuckles) multiple times, eventually knocking him to the ground. He managed to get up and run back to his car. But after he entered his car, the man punched out the car's window and demanded money while putting a pointed object to his neck. Franco Martinez then turned over his money and the man fled.

         3. Franco Martinez and his wife saw the man who robbed him the next day in the same area. The man was dressed the same way, and he laughed at Franco Martinez when he saw him. Franco Martinez (or his wife) used a cellphone to take a picture of the man. They later provided the photograph to the police. Soon thereafter, based on the photo, the police arrested Galindez. He was charged by indictment with the aforementioned crimes.

         4. After the police arrested Galindez, Franco Martinez was presented with a six-pack photo array with one of the photos being of Galindez. He immediately marked Galindez' photograph. This photo array was introduced at trial.

         5. Sometime later, Franco Martinez was arrested in an unrelated matter and saw Galindez in prison. Galindez laughed at him and said, "It is you. You see how small the world is." Galindez also told him not to testify.

          6. At trial Franco Martinez testified to the foregoing, explained that he saw Galindez's face clearly the night of the attack, and identified Galindez in court as his assailant.

         7. An eyewitness to the attack, Ricardo Canongo, also testified at trial. He testified that the man pictured in the photograph taken by Martinez (or his wife) the day after the attack (which had been admitted into evidence) was the man who assaulted and robbed Franco Martinez.[1] He also gave his account of the attack, which was substantially consistent with Franco Martinez's.

         8. In his rebuttal argument, the prosecutor sought to rebut an argument made by Galindez's attorney in his closing that Canongo was not credible because he did not initially give his account of the incident to the police:

Now, Mr. Canongo told you that he was across the street and he saw this play out. . . . He also said, I didn't tell the police I saw the attack because I was afraid. I have kids and a wife. It's not crazy to think that a man who lives in an area which does have high crime and a man who witnessed an assault, a man who witnessed a robbery doesn't want to come forward and testify but was subpoenaed by our office and was asked ...

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