Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Harte, 815 N.Y.S.2d 93 (N.Y. App. Div. 2006)
CrimeViolent, other
Pros. First NameRobert
Pros. Last NameMorgenthau
Trial Year2004
BodyAppeals court
OpinionIn an arson case, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the trial court's error in admitting testimony from the store owner's four employees detailing their conclusions as to the cause of the fire, compounded by improper comments by the prosecutor during summation, warranted a reversal of the conviction. "The foregoing is compounded by improper comments made by the prosecutor during summation. Indeed, the prosecutor, at least three times during his closing argument, and despite sustained objections, continually pointed out to the jury that the four employees had identified defendant as the man in the videotape, and then, in concluding, specifically invited the jury to 'wonder why [defendant] chose not to testify,' an error of 'constitutional dimension' [citations omitted], which improperly shifted the burden of proof to defendant [citations omitted]."
Determination Year2006
Misconduct TypeTR: Inadmissible
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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