Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Ballerstein, 860 N.Y.S.2d 718 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008)
CrimeSex crimes
StateNY
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
FederalNo
Trial YearUKN
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that cumulative effect of evidentiary errors and prosecutorial misconduct deprived defendant of fair trial: "[T]he prosecutor improperly appealed to the jurors' sympathies in his opening statement (citation omitted). In addition, he improperly vouched for the credibility of the victim (citations omitted), and he engaged in misconduct by commenting on the credibility of an individual whom he did not intend to call as a witness. Further, throughout the trial, the prosecutor asked leading questions that circumvented unfavorable rulings of the court and introduced evidence that the court had precluded him from presenting. Finally, in his closing statement, the prosecutor made several 'irrelevant comments which [had] no bearing on any legitimate issue in the case' (citation omitted) and, in stating that '[p]rosecutors seek justice and juries deliver it in cases such as these,” he “exceed[ed] the bounds of legitimate advocacy' (citation omitted). Furthermore, the prosecutor impermissibly warned the jury not to 'fall into the same trap the Department of Social Services has fallen into,” whereby the victim “got lost in the system.' 'Such appeals to emotion tend to deflect the jurors' attention from issues of fact on the question of guilt or innocence' (citation omitted), and cause them instead to focus on protecting the victim and correcting an alleged error in the child protective system (citation omitted). We can only conclude herein that the prosecutor's “inflammatory [comments had] a decided tendency to prejudice the jury against the defendant” (citation omitted).
Determination Year2006
Misconduct TypeTR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Vouching
TR: Other
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://www.leagle.com/decision/2008124452AD3d1192_1436.xml/PEOPLE%20v.%20BALLERSTEIN