Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Wildrick, 920 N.Y.S.2d 540 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011)
CrimeSex crimes
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2009
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, reversed defendant's conviction on other grounds but also condemned the prosecutor's misconduct. "Although we are granting a new trial on other grounds and thus need not address defendant's contention that reversal is required based on prosecutorial misconduct on summation, we nevertheless express our disapproval of several of the prosecutor's comments on summation, which exceeded the bounds of proper advocacy. For example, the prosecutor argued that, 'in the [d]efendant's mind, he hadn't hurt the [victims]. He has given them a gift. He has given them the gift of his sexual encounter with them. He doesn't think that he has hurt these kids by touching them in their genital area when they are underage and forcing his hands upon them or making [one of the victims] touch him as well. He doesn't think he has hurt these kids because he has given them a gift.' There is no basis in the record for such comments by the prosecutor, who thereby improperly inflamed the jury with those unsubstantiated comments [citations omitted]. Similarly, the prosecutor stated on summation that the older victim withheld certain details about the sexual abuse because the victim was 'worried that the people are going to think that he might be gay,' and in later repeating that statement, the prosecutor commented that '[i]t was awkward and embarrassing for [the older victim] to think, as mentioned, that people would think that [he] was gay because the [d]efendant made [him] touch him.' Again, there is no basis in the record to support those comments [citations omitted]. We thus take this opportunity to admonish the People that 'summation is not an unbridled debate in which the restraints imposed at trial are cast aside so that counsel may employ all the rhetorical devices at his [or her] command. There are certain well-defined limits.... Above all [a prosecutor] should not seek to lead the jury away from the issues by drawing irrelevant and inflammatory conclusions which have a decided tendency to prejudice the jury against the defendant' [citation omitted]."
Determination Year2011
Misconduct TypeTR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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