Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Clark, 600 N.Y.S.2d 553 (N.Y. App. Div. 1993)
CrimeDrug crimes
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year1990
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that: (1) it was reversible error to allow the impeachment of a state witness by means of his prior inconsistent statement where the witness' testimony, although contradictory to his written statement, did not affirmatively damage the prosecution, and (2) the defendant was denied a fair trial where the prosecutor stated in summation that a state witness would not have been given immunity if prosecutor did not feel that witness's retraction of earlier statements against defendant were false. "[S]everal of the prosecutor's remarks in summation were patently improper. On several occasions the prosecutor denigrated defendant's case, asserting that defense counsel was 'blowing smoke'. Although there was no objection to those characterizations, the prosecutor exceeded the bounds of proper rhetorical comment [citations omitted]. The prosecutor's suggestion that defendant was a drug dealer was highly prejudicial, referring to matters not in evidence and asking the jury to draw a conclusion that was not fairly inferable from the evidence [citation omitted]. The prosecutor's comparison of Cottrell, her own witness, to Pinocchio also was improper [citations omitted]. The most egregious impropriety in the prosecutor's summation was her statement that, '[i]f the People felt that [Cottrell's written] statement was false, we wouldn't have given him immunity'. By vouching for Cottrell's written statement, the prosecutor injected the integrity of the District Attorney's office into the case [citation omitted]. The prosecutor compounded her misconduct by advising the jury that Cottrell's prosecution for petit larceny was barred by double jeopardy. There was no evidence in the record to support that contention."
Determination Year1993
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
TR: Misstating
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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