Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Bowie, 607 N.Y.S.2d 248 (N.Y. App. Div. 1994)
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year1991
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that comments by prosecutor deprived defendants of fair trial: "The prosecutor's overzealousness was so persistently egregious, even in the face of numerous sustained objections and cautions, as to have denied a fair trial to these defendants. . .The prosecutor started off seeking to evoke sympathy for the victim, who was, after all, a member of the same drug ring, calling him a 'Teddy Bear'. She then called upon the jury to avenge Albea's death by taking back the streets from those hoodlums who ruled the neighborhood at the point of a gun, with the power over who lives and who dies. Such appeals to emotion tend to deflect the jurors' attention from issues of fact on the question of guilt or innocence, and cause them instead to focus on achieving vengeance and protection for their community [citation omitted]. This 'safe streets' argument has long been condemned by our courts [citation omitted] as a deprivation of fair trial, even where the evidence strongly favors the prosecution [citation omitted]. Furthermore, a prosecutor who resorts to name-calling instead of confining her remarks to the facts commits a blatant act of prejudice which can only result in denying a defendant a fair trial [citation omitted], regardless of the merits of the case. . .The prosecutor was also guilty of shifting the burden of proof, suggesting, for example, that it was incumbent upon defendants to fill in certain gaps on missing physical evidence. She referred to evidence not in the record by repeatedly seeking to raise Bowie's propensity for violence in the commission of other similar acts. And she offered her own opinion on certain questions of fact, thus cloaking such speculative assertions with the integrity of her office. The persistence of this prejudicial conduct, even in the face of sustained objections, denied defendants a fair trial despite evidence of guilt that was sufficient to sustain the verdict, and dictates reversal for a new trial [citation omitted]."
Determination Year1994
Misconduct TypeTR: Inflammatory
TR: Misstating
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkN/A