Case Detail
CitationState v. Graves, 668 N.W.2d 860 (Iowa 2003)
CrimeDrug crimes
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2001
BodySupreme court
OpinionThe Iowa Supreme Court, held that (1) as a matter of first impression, a prosecutor may not ask a defendant to comment on the veracity of another witness; (2) the prosecutor's cross-examination of the defendant about whether police officer made up testimony was improper; (3) the prosecutor's closing argument that the defendant lied and virtually called police officer a liar was improper; (4) the prosecutorial misconduct violated due process; and (5) the defense attorney's failure to object and request a mistrial was ineffective assistance. "The prosecutor engaged in misconduct when he asked the defendant whether the police officer had 'made up' his testimony. Additional misconduct occurred in the prosecutor's closing argument when he accused the defendant of calling the officer a liar and again in the prosecutor's rebuttal argument when he repeatedly characterized the defendant as lying. This misconduct permeated the entire trial because it was part of a theme developed by the prosecutor through the challenged instances of misconduct as well as through the prosecutor's inappropriate reference to the defense argument as a 'smoke screen,' the prosecutor's improper assertion that the police officer had no motivation to lie because he would keep his job regardless of the outcome of the case, the prosecutor's improper statement that he personally does not leave cash at other people's homes, and the prosecutor's inaccurate declaration that if the jury believed the officer, it would have to find the defendant guilty. When the challenged misconduct is considered in the context of the other improper arguments made by the prosecutor, we conclude the defendant was deprived of a fair trial. . . .Defense counsel could not reasonably have concluded that objections to the county attorney's conduct were not worth making. In addition, trial counsel's failure to object cannot be attributed to sound trial strategy. Therefore, a determination can be made on the present record that counsel did not perform within a reasonable range of competency. Due to the pervasiveness of the prosecutor's misconduct, its effect on the central issues in the case, and the weakness of the State's evidence in the absence of the tainted testimony, the defendant has shown a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, the result of his trial would have been different. . . . In conclusion, the defendant has established he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel. This denial of his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel warrants a new trial. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of conviction and sentence and remand this case for retrial."
Determination Year2003
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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