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

Jun 2014
60,492
34,751
Cleveland, Ohio
#1
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?
 
Jun 2014
60,492
34,751
Cleveland, Ohio
#4
[MENTION=23697]Ian Jeffrey[/MENTION]? [MENTION=25787]Wonderer[/MENTION]? [MENTION=15719]Leo2[/MENTION]?

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/death-penalty-largely-driven-by-small-number-of-overzealous-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:

Wonderer

Council Hall
May 2014
29,204
19,638
Missouri
#5
[MENTION=23697]Ian Jeffrey[/MENTION]? [MENTION=25787]Wonderer[/MENTION]? [MENTION=15719]Leo2[/MENTION]?

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/death-penalty-largely-driven-by-small-number-of-overzealous-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 isn’t my bailiwick so haven’t had occasion to look into this issue.
 
Likes: 1 person

Southern Dad

Former Staff
Feb 2015
40,311
8,428
Shady Dale, Georgia
#6
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?
 
Likes: 1 person

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
53,870
40,384
Ohio
#8
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.
 
Likes: 2 people

Southern Dad

Former Staff
Feb 2015
40,311
8,428
Shady Dale, Georgia
#9
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.
 
Likes: 1 person
Jun 2014
60,492
34,751
Cleveland, Ohio
#10
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?