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NJ Conviction Reversed for Prosecutor’s Closing Statement

28
May
2010

by in Criminal Defense, Expungements

State v. Karl Lester Murphy, ? N.J. Super. ?, 2010 N.J. Super. LEXIS 63 (April 22, 2010) – Conviction reversed. “We agree with defendant’s contention that the prosecutor’s summation exceeded the boundaries of legitimate advocacy when she vouched for the credibility of her witness…. [Defendant] maintains that the prosecutor’s argument that Carrasquillo had ‘no stake in the outcome of the proceedings’ is an instance of prosecutorial misconduct entitling him to a new trial…. Here, defense counsel did object, but the judge overruled the objection by saying in open court, in full hearing of the jury, that the prosecutor’s remark was a ‘fair comment’ on the evidence. Thus, not only did the judge err by failing to strike the offending remark, he compounded the harmful effect of the remark by essentially signaling to the jury his agreement with the prosecutor’s argument. The judge’s comment had the effect of encouraging the jury to utilize the prosecutor’s remark in its overall evaluation of whether it was defendant or Carrasquillo who was telling the truth.”

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