TRIAL JUDGE GAVE TOO MUCH ADVICE TO THE PROSECUTOR ON THE ADMISSION AND USE OF EVIDENCE, NEW TRIAL ORDERED.
The Third Department reversed defendant's conviction because the trial judge gave excessive procedural advice to the prosecutor (ADA). During several sidebars, the judge explained to the ADA how to lay a proper foundation for the admission of evidence and how to use evidence to refresh a witness's recollection. The judge's well-intentioned assistance was deemed to have created the perception the prosecution received a tactical advantage:
During the course of the trial, the ADA in question demonstrated difficulty in laying the proper foundation for the admission into evidence of certain photographs and bank records and in utilizing a particular document to refresh a witness's recollection. In response, County Court conducted various sidebars, during the course of which the court, among other things, explained the nature of defense counsel's objections, outlined the questions that the ADA needed to ask of the testifying witnesses, referred the ADA to a certain evidentiary treatise and afforded him a recess in order to consult and review the appropriate section thereof. Without further belaboring the point, suffice it to say that our review of the record confirms what County Court itself acknowledged — namely, that in attempting to “explain some of the law” and in an effort to avoid portraying defense counsel as “obstructionist,” it “explained one thing too many, in all fairness.” As County Court's assistance in this regard — although well-intentioned — arguably created the perception that the People were receiving an unfair tactical advantage, we are persuaded that this matter should be remitted for a new trial … . People v Kocsis, 2016 NY Slip Op 02480, 3rd Dept 3-31-16
CRIMINAL LAW (TRIAL JUDGE GAVE TOO MUCH ADVICE TO THE PROSECUTOR ON THE ADMISSION AND USE OF EVIDENCE, NEW TRIAL ORDERED)/JUDGES (CRIMINAL LAW, TRIAL JUDGE GAVE TOO MUCH ADVICE TO THE PROSECUTOR ON THE ADMISSION AND USE OF EVIDENCE, NEW TRIAL ORDERED)