Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Ortiz, 894 N.Y.S.2d 37 (N.Y. App. Div. 2010)
CrimeViolent, other
StateNY
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
FederalNo
Trial Year2007
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that (1) the prosecutor's cross-examination of the defendant as to prior convictions was improper; (2) the prosecutor's cross-examination of the defendant regarding his girlfriend was improper; (3) the prosecutor engaged in an impermissible prejudicial pattern of conduct in summation; and (4) the defendant was deprived of a fair trial as a result. "On cross-examination of defendant, the prosecutor improperly attempted to impeach defendant with his supposed dishonesty in initially entering pleas of not guilty in prior cases followed by allegedly belated pleas of guilty [citations omitted]. . . '[T]he tenor of the prosecutor's questioning of the defendant could not help but mislead the jury concerning the true import of defendant's prior pleas of not guilty,' which were not the equivalent of 'factual assertion[s] of innocence' . . . This questioning not only tended to draw an improper inference of dishonesty, but also violated the court's Sandoval ruling, which only permitted elicitation of the existence of defendant's prior convictions. . . . The prosecutor also erred when, on cross-examination of defendant, he introduced a mugshot of defendant's nontestifying girlfriend and repeatedly referred to her criminal history. This evidence was totally irrelevant" and "had no purpose but to suggest that defendant was associated with a disreputable person [citations omitted]. . . . Additionally, during summation, the prosecutor engaged in a an impermissible, prejudicial pattern of conduct [citations omitted], including extensive use of defendant's prior record as evidence of criminal propensity, along with comments that defendant 'knows he did it,' and that he was waiting for the jury to 'give him his razor back and let him walk out the door.' "
Determination Year2010
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
C/S EffectNo effect
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://leagle.com/decision/In%20NYCO%2020140204299.xml/PEOPLE%20v.%20ORTIZ