Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Hodges, 654 N.Y.S.2d 279 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1997)
CrimeDrug crimes
Pros. First NameRichard
Pros. Last NameBrown
Trial Year1997
BodyTrial court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Queens County, held that the prosecutor's misconduct during summation was rendered harmless in light of the court's order to the prosecutor to stop summation. "Several remarks made by the prosecutor during her summation did exceed the bounds of legitimate fair comment. The prosecutor's reference to defendant's failure to testify was impermissible. [citation omitted]. Also, her statement that defendant was using welfare money to buy drugs was inflammatory, and was improperly designed to appeal to the prejudices of the jury. [citation omitted]. Other comments made were overreaching, and counsel acted generally in an abrasive and unprofessional manner. It is the opinion of this court that the cumulative prejudicial effect of these remarks did effectively deny defendant a fair trial. . . . However, notwithstanding the improprieties of the prosecutor, the evidence adduced at trial was more than legally sufficient to establish defendant's guilt, and any error made during summation was harmless. . . . The prosecutor's improper comments were rendered further harmless by the court's curative instructions. All of the remarks complained of were followed by immediate sustained objections or sustained objections coupled with curative instructions, thereby preventing the jury from drawing any unwarranted inferences. [citation omitted]. The court promptly and forcefully instructed the jury to disregard any improper arguments made by the prosecutor. . . . In fact, the prosecutor's behavior was so egregious that the court was ultimately compelled to order her to stop her summation and to sit down. The court was forced to step in as the 'saving grace' to ensure that defendant had a fair trial. [citation omitted]. In short, the combined effect of prompt, forceful curative instructions with the ultimate rebuking of the prosecutor was sufficient to avert any possible prejudice to defendant. [citations omitted]."
Determination Year1997
Misconduct TypeTR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
TR: Other
C/S EffectNo effect
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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