Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Walters, 674 N.Y.S.2d 114 (N.Y. App. Div. 1998)
CrimeAttempted murder
StateNY
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
FederalNo
Trial Year1995
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the prosecutor's improper comments during closing summation exceeded boundaries of appropriate advocacy, and warranted new trial. "[T]he prosecutor exceeded the boundaries of appropriate advocacy. . . . It was improper for the prosecutor to persist in making purposefully inflammatory remarks designed to appeal to the jury's sympathy [citation omitted]. The prosecutor's remarks during his summation, inter alia, that the victim was left 'on the street to die, to die like a dog', and that but for the crime, 'was probably going to be a brilliant artist', and his invitations to 'imagine what a shock it was to [the victim's wife], who's eight months pregnant', were unnecessary and improper. . . .The prosecutor also improperly shifted the burden of proof to the defendant when, during his summation, he asked the jury, rhetorically, 'did [the defendant] call any additional witnesses?', and then supplied the answer, 'no'. Similarly, it was improper to tell the jury that 'the only real evidence is the People's evidence' [citation omitted]. The prosecutor's accusation, also during summation, that the defendant tailored his own testimony after he heard the testimony of prosecution witnesses, was likewise improper . . .The prosecutor in his summation improperly described the defendant's testimony as 'continued lies on top of lies, on top of lies', and 'tales and lies, back and forth, back and forth' [citations omitted]. Furthermore, the prosecutor gave his own opinion regarding the truth and falsity of witnesses' testimony, and vouched for the victim's credibility. . . Most egregious was the prosecutor's insinuation that the gun which had been recovered from the defendant two weeks after the crime in an unrelated arrest, may have been the gun which was used to shoot the victim. He persisted with this implication despite his knowledge that the ballistics test performed by police conclusively established that the gun had not been used in the crime. The prosecutor's conduct in advocating a position which he knew to be false was an abrogation of his responsibility as a prosecutor. . ."
Determination Year1998
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
TR: Misstating
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://www.leagle.com/decision/1998684251AD2d433_2126.xml/PEOPLE%20v.%20WALTERS