Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Jones, 595 N.Y.S.2d 869 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1993)
CrimeMurder
StateNY
Pros. First NameRichard
Pros. Last NameBrown
FederalNo
Trial Year1993
BodyTrial court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Queens County, Criminal Term, held that: (1) the district attorney's cross-examination of the defendant, who simply denied knowing the homicide victim or having been in his office, was inconsistent with the function of the district attorney in a grand jury proceeding, and effectively nullified exercise of the defendant's statutory right to testify and amounted to prosecutorial misconduct requiring dismissal of the indictment, and (2) the instructions on the law given to the grand jury were materially inadequate and incomplete in omitting a causation instruction. "The cross examination was blatantly hostile, to the point of being abusive. In response to defendant's simple statement, amounting to a denial that he knew decedent or had ever been in his office, the prosecutor went right for the jugular, repeatedly inquiring as to his prior criminal record, which consisted of misdemeanors, and, based upon that record, suggesting a propensity toward committing violent acts upon strangers. This was improper, inflammatory and highly prejudicial [citation omitted]. . . . Plainly, the prosecutor was out to prove his case and to wholly discredit the defendant, not to elicit facts for the grand jurors' consideration [citations omitted]. . . . Moreover, compounding the misconduct by the prosecutor here were the instructions on the law, which were materially inadequate and incomplete, especially in relation to the facts and the nature of the case. While the law is clear that 'a Grand Jury need not be instructed with the same degree of precision that is required when a petit jury is instructed on the law,' the District Attorney must provide the Grand Jury ' with enough information to enable it intelligently to decide whether a crime has been committed and to determine whether there exists legally sufficient evidence to establish the material elements of the crime.' [citations omitted]."
Determination Year1993
Misconduct TypePT: Charging
PT: Evidence
Pre-Trial -- Other
C/S EffectDismissal
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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