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

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Is a DA Allowed To Give The Defendant The Stink Eye During Trial?

    Can the prosecutor use body language and facial expressions to communicate deep contempt for the defendant in front of the jury at trial?

    If not, why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Can the prosecutor use body language and facial expressions to communicate deep contempt for the defendant in front of the jury at trial?

    If not, why?
    Ms. Madeline,

    Yes.

    Next question.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    I cannot find a case or rule of criminal procedure that is directly on point.

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    @Ian Jeffrey? @Wonderer? @Leo2?

    This matters in part because the U.S. death penalty is imposed in a VERY uneven manner. 5% of prosecutors produce almost 15% of all death sentences, and among them, the flagrant use of derisive body language is rampant.

    *Snip*

    A small club of five so-called deadliest prosecutors identified in a new report released today by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. Together, the five prosecutors, only one of whom is still in office, secured 440 capital convictions — the equivalent of 15 percent of the nation’s current death row population.

    *Snip*
    https://theintercept.com/2016/06/30/...s-prosecutors/

    They also "produce" a disproportionate number of misconduct findings against American prosecutors, by appellate courts and state bar associations, including misconduct severe enough to vacate guilty verdicts in cases where the death penalty was imposed at their behest.

    But I cannot find a single case where derisive facial expressions, etc., were the subject of any such misconduct proceedings.

    I doubt this conduct by lawyers in court would be tolerated in the U.K., where the police are not even permitted to lie to suspects.
    Last edited by Madeline; 2nd March 2018 at 03:50 AM.

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    Flibbertigibbet Wonderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    @Ian Jeffrey? @Wonderer? @Leo2?

    This matters in part because the U.S. death penalty is imposed in a VERY uneven manner. 5% of prosecutors produce almost 15% of all death sentences, and among them, the flagrant use of derisive body language is rampant.



    https://theintercept.com/2016/06/30/...s-prosecutors/

    They also "produce" a disproportionate number of misconduct findings against American prosecutors, by appellate courts and state bar associations, including misconduct severe enough to vacate guilty verdicts in cases where the death penalty was imposed at their behest.

    But I cannot find a single case where derisive facial expressions, etc., were the subject of any such misconduct proceedings.

    I doubt this conduct by lawyers in court would be tolerated in the U.K., where the police are not even permitted to lie to suspects.
    No idea. Criminal law isnít my bailiwick so havenít had occasion to look into this issue.
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    You bet your ass the prosecutor is allowed to give the defendant the stink eye. He or she can roll his or her eyes, he or she can look at the ceiling. Do you think the defense attorney doesn't do this to the prosecutor?
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    I cannot imagine what difference it would make either way.

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    Probably depends on the judge. Officers of the court have standards of behavior they are supposed to maintain, don't they? I would think if either the prosecution or the defense engaged in conduct unbecoming to the point it could be viewed as a distraction, the judge could charge them with contempt.

    But I'm just guessing.
    Thanks from Madeline and jacobfitcher

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    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    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.
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    You bet your ass the prosecutor is allowed to give the defendant the stink eye. He or she can roll his or her eyes, he or she can look at the ceiling. Do you think the defense attorney doesn't do this to the prosecutor?
    There are NO ethical limits to that nonverbal communication IYO?

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