Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Anderson, 921 N.Y.S.2d 156 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011)
CrimeMurder
StateNY
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
FederalNo
Trial Year2011
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the prosecutor's misconduct during cross-examination and on summation deprived the defendant of a fair trial: "The trial court's Sandoval ruling [citation omitted] permitted the prosecutor to inquire into the underlying facts of the defendant's prior narcotics conviction arising from a June 2002 drug sale. However, rather than confining his inquiry to the facts relevant to show that the defendant placed his own interest above that of society by selling narcotics to an undercover police officer in June 2002, the prosecutor asked a series of irrelevant and prejudicial questions concerning how the drugs were packaged, the source of the drugs, the name of the defendant's supplier, where the supplier lived, what the supplier looked like, and what financial arrangements the defendant had with his supplier. The prosecutor's repeated and extensive questioning regarding the details of the June 2002 sale exceeded the proper scope of the Sandoval ruling, and 'were clearly intended to show the defendant's criminal propensity, and, as such, were improper' [citation omitted]. Moreover, while the Sandoval ruling also permitted the prosecutor to inquire about the fact that the defendant had three other drug convictions, in the course of cross-examining him about the existence of these convictions, the prosecutor repeatedly demanded that the defendant acknowledge choosing to do 'what's best for [the defendant]' instead of choosing to abide by the law, thus inviting the jurors to focus their attention on the defendant's propensity for criminal conduct. . . .Furthermore, although a prosecutor should not support his or her case by his or her own or anyone else's 'veracity and position' [citation omitted], the prosecutor did so here by effectively vouching on summation for the conduct and credibility of two witnesses based upon their positions. First, in discussing the testimony of a former Assistant District Attorney who was present at the lineup identification procedure, the prosecutor emphasized that this individual was now a New York City Councilman, and commented that the councilman was at the lineup to make sure that it was fair, and that the right person was identified. Second, in highlighting the testimony of the Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney who denied that the information provided by the eyewitness played a role in the dismissal of a gun possession charge against him, the prosecutor focused on this individual's high-level position in the District Attorney's Office of a 'county of millions,' and stressed that his credentials included 'lectures about ethical considerations of prosecutors.' . . .On summation, the prosecutor also exceeded the bounds of permissible advocacy and improperly denigrated the defense by likening the defendant's testimony to a 'script' composed of '[r]ehearsed line[s],' calling the defendant's explanation for why he initially denied attending the party a '[b]old-face[d] lie,' and making other comments suggesting that the defendant was lying [citations omitted]. The prosecutor additionally mischaracterized the defendant's testimony by claiming that the defendant went home to sleep after learning of his friend's death, in order to support an unnecessarily inflammatory argument that the defendant was as remorseless as a hunter who kills a deer [citations omitted]."
Determination Year2011
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20NYCO%2020110415410.xml/PEOPLE%20v.%20ANDERSON