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Thread: Is a DA Allowed To Give The Defendant The Stink Eye During Trial?

  1. #11
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    I cannot imagine what difference it would make either way.
    I will link a video clip later, illustrating this point.

    Meanwhile, I have done this myself. I KNOW I won at least one case with this "moment", but the difference is, I had no jury.

    (It was a nursing home licensure case and I had a staff nurse admitting on the stand to severe neglect over time of the same patient, because he was "a nuisance".)

    Turns out, judges are human too.

    And my defendant was made to close his business, etc. I never sent anyone to prison.
    Last edited by Madeline; 2nd March 2018 at 05:38 AM.

  2. #12
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    After telling the jury that he murdered someone in cold blood, I can't imagine the prosecutor looking at the defendant with any less than utter disdain.
    Yeah, I feel ya.

    Except that these "super-deadly" prosecutors have high rates of reversals, even a few exonerations.

    So.....this theatricality was not always in aid of a search for justice.

  3. #13
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    I just cannot imagine a jury (much less a judge) being influenced in the prosecutor's favor just because the prosecutor made a face. For that reason, I imagine an appeal on that basis would be unsuccessful (even if successful on other grounds).
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  4. #14
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    I just cannot imagine a jury (much less a judge) being influenced in the prosecutor's favor just because the prosecutor made a face. For that reason, I imagine an appeal on that basis would be unsuccessful (even if successful on other grounds).
    Ya, but courtroom decorum and attorney ethical rules still apply, and while they might not bear on the death sentence or the verdict directly, it (I presume) is still impermissible for prosecutors to shout, curse, etc. in front of a jury.

    Just bothers me. That woman from Texas is all over crime t.v. now that she has retired as the St. Joan of Arc of victim's rights, and I think she was a shitty, bullying cow as a prosecutor, with no regard for actual justice or actual guilt.

    Kelly Seigler, from Texas. Of course.

    She's much worse than Nancy Grace or Jeannine Piro. At least both of them were actually good prosecutors. Shitty tv personalities, but good prosecutors.

    Kelly Seigler is a great tv personality but I think she was a really terrible prosecutor, convicting innocent people and getting death sentences on guilty ones that never should have been allowed.
    Last edited by Madeline; 2nd March 2018 at 06:26 AM.

  5. #15
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Ya, but courtroom decorum and attorney ethical rules still apply, and while they might not bear on the death sentence or the verdict directly, it (I presume) is still impermissible for prosecutors to shout, curse, etc. in front of a jury.
    There is a difference between a question of decorum - which is between the attorneys and the court - and a question of legality or constitutionality as to the behavior of a prosecutor with respect to the defendant.
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    Member Robert Urbanek's Avatar
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    Some facial expressions may be involuntary.
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  7. #17
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    There are NO ethical limits to that nonverbal communication IYO?
    There's breach of ethics. The prosecutor's job is to build a case that puts the murderer in prison or on death row. The defendant isn't going to have the advantage of an attorney that can do whatever he or she wants while the prosecutor has to speak in a monotone and look a certain way. The prosecutor has a job to do. His job is to convince the jury.
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  8. #18
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Yeah, I feel ya.

    Except that these "super-deadly" prosecutors have high rates of reversals, even a few exonerations.

    So.....this theatricality was not always in aid of a search for justice.
    That's why we have appeals. Are the same restrictions going to be placed on the defense attorney? No rolling his or her eyes as evidence is presented?
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  9. #19
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    That's why we have appeals. Are the same restrictions going to be placed on the defense attorney? No rolling his or her eyes as evidence is presented?
    This actually has been debated. The San Francisco Dog Mauling trial. That defense lawyer got on all fours, growled, and otherwise acted very, very oddly during her opening argument.

    *Snip*

    Lawyers were also divided over whether Ms. Knoller's defense lawyer, Nedra Ruiz, who was trying her first murder case, had hurt her client's case.

    From the first day, Ms. Ruiz, 53, distinguished herself as a different kind of lawyer. During her opening statement, she cried, crawled on all fours, writhed on the floor, shouted and whispered in a dramatic re-enactment of the attack in which she cast her client as the valiant hero who desperately tried to shield the victim from the dog.

    Ms. Ruiz's opening set the tone for her exhaustive, sometimes rambling, presentation. Some legal experts also criticized her for harshly cross-examining Ms. Whipple's domestic partner, Sharon Smith, who has filed a wrongful death civil suit against the couple and her former landlord. They also said that in the end, she should have raised the issue of reasonable doubt rather than accuse the prosecution of pandering to political pressure from gays.

    ''Everything Ruiz did was wrong,'' said Mr. Keane, who said that her ''ineffective assistance of counsel'' was a ground for appeal.

    Ms. Ruiz has not discussed the verdicts and could not be reached for comment.

    *Snip*
    Dog Attack Trial Is Over, but the Debate Goes On - The New York Times

    It really, really was bizarre conduct for a defense lawyer. O'course, as far as I know, the California State Bar did not ever discuss changing the rules of ethics to prohibit such conduct. I also don't think it affected the verdict (2nd degree murder for Margery Knoeller, which was set aside by the trial judge and reinstated by the state appellate court), but I admit, I have never read the briefs, etc.

  10. #20
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    There is a difference between a question of decorum - which is between the attorneys and the court - and a question of legality or constitutionality as to the behavior of a prosecutor with respect to the defendant.
    This is true, plus how would the misconduct be memorialized? The court report doesn't video the courtroom; she just records what is said inside it.

    Maybe the problem cannot be solved beyond the judge's control over the courtroom.

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