Prosecutor’s Remarks Regarding a Criminal Defendant’s Civil Lawsuit Against the Arresting Officer Was Improper

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

In a recent decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the prosecutor’s improper reference during his summation to the defendant’s civil lawsuit against the officers who arrested him in his criminal case did not merit a new trial.

Prosecutorial misconduct will not result in a reversal of a criminal conviction unless it is so egregious that it deprives a defendant of a fair trial. A prosecutor’s comments are deemed to have violated the defendant’s right to a fair trial when they so infect the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of that defendant’s right to due process. Three factors are assessed by the Court to determine whether a reversal is appropriate: (1) whether the defense attorney made timely and proper objections to the improper remarks; (2) whether the remarks were withdrawn promptly; and (3) whether the court ordered the remarks stricken from the record and instructed the jury to disregard them.

While the prosecutor’s remarks about the criminal defendant’s civil suit was improper, reversal was not warranted because defense counsel failed to object to their admission, they were related to the evidence, and responsive to a key defense theme.

If you or someone you know was subject to prosecutorial misconduct, and seek a new trial, appeal, or post-conviction relief, please call New Jersey criminal lawyers Schwartz & Posnock at (732) 544-1460 for assistance.

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