Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Torres, 490 N.Y.S.2d 793 (N.Y. App. Div. 1985)
CrimeViolent, other
StateNY
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
FederalNo
Trial YearUKN
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that: (1) instructions impermissibly shifted the burden of proof to defendant on his alibi defense; (2) the prosecutor's inquiry concerning the failure of the defendant and the alibi witness to report the defendant's alibi to police was improper; (3) the prosecutor's repeated inquiry, in jury's presence, concerning why the alibi witness did not contact police, improperly indicated that witness was obligated to come forward; and (4) certain of prosecutor's comments during summation were improper. "[T]he prosecutor's inquiry concerning the failure of defendant and an alibi witness to report defendant's alibi to the police was improper . . .Defendant's emphatic denial of guilt to the arresting officer, followed by an ambiguous statement that he saw one complainant and 'knew she recognized me' does not constitute a detailed admission which would permit the prosecutor to draw an adverse inference from defendant's silence [citation omitted]. Defendant maintained 'effective silence, even if something less than total', and, accordingly, the prosecutor should not have pursued this line of inquiry. . .Similarly, the prosecutor's repeated inquiry, in the jury's presence, concerning why an alibi witness did not contact the police, improperly indicated that the witness was obligated to come forward. The prosecutor failed to lay a proper foundation out of the jury's presence for this cross-examination. . .We also note that certain of the prosecutor's comments during summation were improper. The prosecutor's consistent implication that defendant and his trial counsel had concocted the alibi, through the use of phrases such as 'doomsday sham', 'unbelievable defense', 'smokescreen' and '[c]onfusion defense', clearly exceeded the bounds of proper rhetorical comment. His remark that, if the jury acquitted defendant, 'that verdict [will] ring from one end of the county to the other' improperly suggested that the jury would be subject to scorn and ridicule if they acquitted defendant."
Determination Year1985
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Mischaracterizing
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://www.leagle.com/decision/1985996111AD2d885_2239