The Fourth Department, in the interest of justice, reversed defendant’s conviction based upon prosecutorial misconduct in summation:
On summation, the prosecutor repeatedly invoked a “safe streets” argument … , even after Supreme Court sustained defense counsel’s objection to the prosecutor’s use of that argument; denigrated the defense by calling defense counsel’s arguments “garbage,” “smoke and mirrors,” and “nonsense” intended to distract the juror’s focus from the “atrocious acts” that defendant committed against the victim … ; improperly characterized the defense as being based on a “big conspiracy” against defendant by the prosecutor and the People’s witnesses … ; and denigrated the fact that defendant had elected to invoke his constitutional right to a trial … . Perhaps most egregiously, given that “the potential danger posed to defendant when DNA evidence is presented as dispositive of guilt is by now obvious,” the prosecutor engaged in misconduct when she mischaracterized and overstated the probative value of the DNA evidence in this case … .
We recognize, of course, that “[r]eversal is an ill-suited remedy for prosecutorial misconduct” … . It is nevertheless mandated when the conduct of the prosecutor “has caused such substantial prejudice to the defendant that he [or she] has been denied due process of law. In measuring whether substantial prejudice has occurred, one must look at the severity and frequency of the conduct, whether the court took appropriate action to dilute the effect of that conduct, and whether review of the evidence indicates that without the conduct the same result would undoubtedly have been reached” … . In view of the substantial prejudice caused by the prosecutor’s misconduct in this case, including the fact that the evidence of guilt is less than overwhelming … , we agree with defendant that reversal is required. People v Jones, 2015 NY Slip Op 09773, 4th Dept 12-31-15
CRIMINAL LAW (PROSECUTOR’S REMARKS IN SUMMATION REQUIRED REVERSAL)/PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT (REMARKS IN SUMMATION REQUIRED REVERSAL)