COMMONWEALTH v. Gurdev SINGH.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER PURSUANT TO RULE 23.0
The defendant, Gurdev Singh, appeals from his conviction of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, pursuant to G. L. c. 90, § 24 (2) (a).2 On appeal, he contends that the jury erred in crediting testimony from the Commonwealth's witnesses. We affirm.
Discussion. To obtain a conviction of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant (1) operated a motor vehicle (2) upon a public way (3) recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered. G. L. c. 90, § 24 (2) (a). See Commonwealth v. Jewett, 471 Mass. 624, 630 (2015); Commonwealth v. Duffy, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 921, 921 (2004). While “[t]here must be adequate evidentiary support for each essential element of the offense,” Commonwealth v. Giavazzi, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 374, 376 (2004), the weight and credibility of the evidence is “a matter wholly within the province of the jury.” Commonwealth v. Walker, 442 Mass. 185, 191 (2004), quoting Commonwealth v. Martino, 412 Mass. 267, 272 (1992).
At trial, a witness testified that, on January 5, 2018, shortly before 8 p.m., she was stopped on South Quinsigamond Avenue attempting to make a left turn onto Shrewsbury Green Drive when the driver's side of her vehicle was hit by a white Chevrolet. She testified that the white Chevrolet's front windshield was fully covered with snow at the time of the accident. Shortly after the accident, Officer Chad Chysna of the Shrewsbury police department arrived at the scene. He testified that South Quinsigamond Avenue is a road maintained by the town of Shrewsbury. He further testified that, when he arrived on the scene, he observed a male, later identified as the defendant, get out of the Chevrolet and begin removing snow from its front windshield, which he testified was “almost completely covered with snow.”3 This testimony, which the jury were free to credit, was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction of reckless operation of a motor vehicle.4 See Commonwealth v. Kaplan, 97 Mass. App. Ct. 540, 543 (2020) (driving with obstructed view of side window and side view mirror endangered safety of others on road). It is not our role to second guess credibility determinations made by the jury.5 See Commonwealth v. Ford, 397 Mass. 298, 301-302 (1986) (“Credibility is for the jury, not for appellate courts. We will not substitute our view of a witness's credibility for that of the jury”).
2. The defendant was acquitted of operating under the influence of intoxication liquor, G. L. c. 90, § 24 (1) (a) (1), third offense, and he pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, G. L. c. 90, § 23.
3. Officer Chysna testified that the area not covered by snow was approximately one foot by one foot and it looked like the snow “possibly had broken down.” He also testified that the vehicle was on and the defroster was running, causing snow to melt throughout the encounter.
4. We note that there was no conflicting testimony that the jury could have credited. The only evidence introduced by the defendant was portions of the video recording of his booking.
5. For the same reason, the fact that there was conflicting testimony by the Commonwealth's witnesses regarding whether it snowed that day is of no consequence. The jury were free to credit the testimony of one witness and discredit the testimony of the other. See Commonwealth v. McGann, 484 Mass. 312, 326 (2020).
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