Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Goldstein, 763 N.Y.S.2d 390 (N.Y. App. Term 2003)
CrimeNon-violent, other
Pros. First NameCharles
Pros. Last NameHynes
Trial Year2002
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, held that the prosecutor's improper statements in summation that the defendant had lied about various matters warranted reversal. "In the present case, the prosecutor, without any attempt to temper his language, improperly stated on a number of occasions that defendant had lied about various matters [citations omitted]. In direct contrast to his characterization of defendant, on several occasions the prosecutor vouched for the complainant, flatly stating that she had 'told the truth, unlike defendant'; that 'she's not lying' or had 'no motive' to lie about various items of testimony [citations omitted]. . . .While a prosecutor is 'clearly entitled to respond by arguing that the witness[ ] had, in fact, been credible' citation omitted], and certain of the prosecutor's remarks served that proper purpose, others went beyond any permissible and fair argument that the complainant had testified truthfully [citation omitted]. Indeed, some of the remarks did violence to the evidence itself. For example, the prosecutor on two occasions argued, apparently to bolster the impression of complainant's truthfulness and to make defendant appear ridiculous, that the complainant stole $130,000 from him in petty cash, an assertion in no way supported by the record [citation omitted]. The prosecutor's contrasting reference to defendant's alleged motive to lie because he had a pending insurance claim for the $130,000 is also prejudicial [citations omitted]. . . . In addition, the prosecutor improperly denigrated defense counsel on a number of occasions, stating that “there were a whole lot of misrepresentations in defense counsel's closing' and 'there were outright falsehoods', characterizing one of counsel's arguments as 'an outright lie,' and stating that this was one of 'many, many things that he said during his summations that were just outright false' [citations omitted]. . . . Finally, the prosecutor ended his summation by improperly telling the jury that there was 'nothing that you can do that is ever going to give back to Jennifer Lozinski what she lost'; 'nothing that you are going to do that's going to make [defendant] understand'; and that 'There is nothing that you are going to do that is even going to make him care.' These gratuitous remarks could have no other purpose but to inflame the jury [citations omitted]. While an objection interjected at this point was sustained, the court neither admonished the prosecutor nor gave any curative instruction directed to this statement [citations omitted]. The prosecutor then compounded the impropriety by urging the jury to “do what is right” by convicting defendant [citations omitted]."
Determination Year2003
Misconduct TypeTR: Impugning
TR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Mischaracterizing
TR: Vouching
C/S EffectNew trial
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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