Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Aguilar, 829 N.Y.S.2d 395 (N.Y. App. Term 2006)
CrimeNon-violent, other
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2004
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, held that the cumulative effect of the prosecutor's improper and inflammatory remarks in summation served to deprive the defendant of his right to a fair trial. "The prosecutor exceeded the bounds of legitimate advocacy when he persistently attempted to improperly shift the burden of proof by (1) stating that he had an 'ethical obligation to proceed only against the defendant[s] who are guilty;' (2) implying that defendant has an obligation to introduce evidence when he argued to the jury 'don't allow the defendant to come in here and shift the blame, he's the one on trial;' and (3) commenting on defendant's pretrial silence [citation omitted]. The prosecutor compounded these errors when he blatantly vouched for the credibility of his witnesses [citation omitted], referred to matters not in evidence, and sought to 'lead the jury away from the issues by drawing irrelevant and inflammatory conclusions which had a decided tendency to prejudice the jury' against defendant [citation omitted]. For example, over objections which were overruled, the prosecutor argued that the police officers' 'job is to keep the street safe and to keep the community clean, and that's what they did ... [t]hey got a drunk driver off the road[,] an intoxicated driver before he did serious damage,' and then remarked, 'this case is about the defendant putting all of our lives at risk, getting behind the wheel of a two ton truck.' ”
Determination Year2006
Misconduct TypeTR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Misstating
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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