Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Russell, 761 N.Y.S.2d 400 (N.Y. App. Div. 2003)
CrimeViolent, other
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2002
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the cumulative effect of improper conduct by the prosecutor during summation denied the defendant his right to fair trial: "[T]the prosecutor's summation is replete with inappropriate remarks wherein she, among other things, referred to various statements made by defendant as lies and 'tall tale[s],' commented that defendant's appearance was suggestive of dishonesty, referred to defendant's possession of a Bible as a 'prop' and characterized defendant's crying on the stand as an attempt to evoke juror sympathy. While not all of the prosecutor's errors were preserved by appropriate objection, we nevertheless exercise our discretion and reverse in the interest of justice [citations omitted]. Significantly, defendant's credibility was central to his defense as he maintained that he had been hired by a demolition company to clean out the dwelling, which he believed was abandoned and in serious disrepair. Moreover, the few curative instructions issued by County Court did not alleviate the prejudice, as the court merely instructed the jury to consider the prosecutor's arguments in assessing witness credibility. Given the magnitude of the prosecutor's errors, the limitations of County Court's curative instructions and the fact that defendant's credibility was integral to his defense, we conclude that defendant was deprived of a fair trial . . ."
Determination Year2003
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inflammatory
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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