Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Mehmood, 977 N.Y.S.2d 78 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013)
CrimeSex crimes
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2009
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the cumulative effect of the prosecutor's improper comments in summation required a new trial, and the defendant was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. "In summing up, a prosecutor 'must stay within the four corners of the evidence and avoid irrelevant and inflammatory comments which have a tendency to prejudice the jury against the accused' [citations omitted]. At trial, the defendant presented evidence concerning his cooperation with law enforcement authorities in drug cases against the complainants' mother to establish that the complainants had a motive to fabricate their allegations against him. During summation, the prosecutor improperly referred to such evidence as 'an elaborate attempt to distract [the jury] from the real issues in this case' [citations omitted]. The prosecutor also inaccurately stated that the defendant, who had testified on his own behalf, needed 'a clarification about which child's vagina he did or did not touch,' when the defendant, in fact, had asked whether the question concerned his paramour, the complainants' mother. In addition, the prosecutor made an irrelevant and inflammatory argument intended to convince the jury that the defendant's denials of the sexual abuse allegations in the indictment were implicit admissions that he had abused the complainants outside the periods of time designated for the charged crimes [citations omitted]. Furthermore, the prosecutor impugned the defendant's right to testify and improperly suggested that he lied on the stand, when she referred to him as 'an opportunist' who 'took the stand, and ... said what he thought he had to to save himself' [citations omitted]. Finally, the prosecutor impermissibly vouched for the credibility of a witness based on his position as a law enforcement officer [citations omitted]. The cumulative effect of these improper comments deprived the defendant of a fair trial [citations omitted]."
Determination Year2013
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectNew trial
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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