Proving Assault Third Degree Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
The State has a burden of proving each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt. 11 Del. C. 301, State v. Matushefske, Del. Supr., 215 A.2d 443 (1965).
As established case law indicates, a reasonable doubt, "is not a vague, whimsical or merely possible doubt, but such a doubt as intelligent, reasonable, and impartial men may honest entertain after a conscious consideration of the case.
'Reasonable doubt' means a substantial, well-founded doubt, arising from a candidate and impartial consideration of all the evidence or want of evidence." State v. Wright, Del. Gen. Sess., 79 A. 399 (1911).
The State also has a burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that jurisdiction and venue has been proven as elements of the offense. 11 Del. C. 232. James v. State, Del. Supr., 377 A.2d 15 (1977). Thornton v. State, Del. Supr., 405 A.2d 126 (1979).
Delaware law defines the offense of Assault Third Degree, in pertinent part, as follows:
A person is guilty of assault in the third degree when:
(2) He intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to another person.
In order to find the defendant guilty of Assault in the Third Degree, the Court must find the following elements have been established beyond a reasonable doubt:
The defendant caused physical injury to the alleged victim. "Physical injury" means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain; and
Defendant acted intentionally. That is it was defendant's conscious, object or purpose to cause physical injury to another person.
In determining whether the State has met its burden of proving each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, as required by 11 Del. C. 301, the Court may consider all direct and circumstantial evidence.
The Court, as trier of fact, is the sole judge of the credibility of each fact witness.
If the Court finds the evidence presented to be in conflict, it is the Court's duty to reconcile these conflicts, if reasonably possible, as to make one harmonious story of it all.
If the Court cannot do this, the Court must give credit to the portion of the testimony which, is in the Court's judgment, is more worthy of credit and disregard any portion of the testimony which in the Court's judgment, is unworthy of credit.
In doing so, the Court takes into consideration the demeanor of the witness, their apparent fairness in giving their testimony, their opportunities in hearing and knowing the facts about which they testify, and any basis or interest they may have concerning the nature of the case.